The extensive move to remove the Confederate Flag from public and some commercial settings has raised serious concerns over both free speech and academic freedom. While the flag has been used as a racist symbol, it is also a historical symbol. According to one author, that distinction appears to have been lost by Amazon, which reportedly took done the book by Michael Dreese, a civil war author with six books on the conflict. Two of those books concern both the Union and Confederate battle flags and their roles in the Civil War. However, “This Flag Never Goes Down” (a book on the Confederate flag) was taken down by Amazon from its listed works.
The move by Amazon is reminiscent of the move by Apple to remove games, including Civil War games, featuring the flag. Apple later back pedaled on the historical products.
Dreese says that he received an email from Amazon asking him to take down the listing. He says that the book is nonfiction and does not advocate for the flag. It is a historical work.
I did find the book on the UK Amazon this morning. It is not clear if Amazon reversed the actions cited by Dreese or has not carried through on the delisting. The controversy is the subject of chatrooms on Amazon.
If the story is true (and I have no reason to doubt this author), it is a bizarre move by Amazon and captures the concern of free speech advocates and academics over the wholesale effort to remove every image of the confederacy from statue to mosaics to flags. There needs to be some recognition and tolerance for historical images and particularly academic work.
What do you think?