Schmuhl book receives `prime selection' acclaim
By LAURA BOST
When the Chicago Tribune recognized Notre Dame professor Robert Schmuhl's book "Indecent Liberties," as a prime nonfiction selection for 2000, it was indicative of the book's widespread appeal.
"I had no idea what the reaction might be to my book,"said Schmuhl, an American Studies professor.
The book was the product of a compilation of a number of long essays written from the early 1990s through 1999. After giving throught to a variety of topics from different disciplines like sociology, political science and media studies, Schmuhl decided to create a book from the essays.
"I had been thinking about the larger theme for a while, and it was then just a matter of revising existing essays and writing a couple of new ones to give the book coherence," he said
"Indecent Liberties" reflects on the tendency of American society to liberally interpret their freedoms in politics, social movements, the arts and popular culture.
"I tried to identify a certain characteristic in American life and discuss it by looking at a number of different examples from both the past and present," Schmuhl said.
The book, published by the University of Notre Dame Press, examines the repercussions of construing the constitution to encompass "indecent liberties." Schmuhl argues in his book that the failure of society to exercise a median interpretation of American liberties may lead to the country's detriment.
Schmuhl attributed the success of the book to its widespread applicability to all of American society.
"It addresses the concerns being voiced today and explores them in a certain amount of detail that people find interesting," he said.
"Indecent Liberties" is just one of Schmuhl's nine books. He also has written columns and reviews for newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, the Washington Post and USA Today.
His journal and magazine articles have appeared in Style, National Forum, Journalism Quarterly, Critical Studies in Mass Communications, the Review of Politics and Sports Illustrated.
Schmuhl is the director of the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy at Notre Dame.
All News Stories for Wednesday, January 17, 2001