OTHER BANNED BOOKS
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
by Mark Twain
The word "nigger," which appears many times in the novel, was
the cause for the removal of this classic from an eighth-grade
reading list. In the 1950s, the NAACP objected to the book's
perceived racist tone. In 1984, the book was removed from a public
high school reading list in Waukegan, Illinois, because a black
alderman found the book's language offensive.
American Heritage Dictionary (1969)
In 1978, an Eldon, Missouri library banned the dictionary because
it contained 39 "objectionable" words. And, in 1987, the Anchorage
School Board banned the dictionary for similar reasons, i.e., having
slang definitions for words such as "bed," "knocker," and "balls."
by MacKinlay Kantor
Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1956, this story of a
Confederate prison camp during the Civil War, was viciously attacked
throughout the U.S. It was banned in Amarillo, TX.
Annie on My Mind
The Olathe, Kansas school system ordered all copies of this book
removed from high school library shelves. It is a story of two women
who meet and fall in love and struggle with declaring their
homosexuality to family and friends.
As I Lay Dying (1932)
by William Faulkner
In 1986, Graves County, Kentucky, the school board banned this
book about a poor white family in the midst of crisis, from its high
school English reading list because of 7 passages which made
reference to God or abortion and used curse words such as "bastard,"
"goddam," and "son of a bitch." None of the board members had
actually read the book.
Atkol Video Catalog
WIRED magazine (Feb. 1996) reported that AOL censored Atkol
Video's catalog from its virtual shopping mall for carrying gay
titles. AOL gave no censoring criteria when it "cut some titles and
Banned From Public Radio: Humor,
Commentary and Smart Remarks Your Government DOESN'T Want You To
by Michael Graham
The title of this first book is literally true: he was banned
from the South Carolina Educational Radio Network courtesy of those
geniuses in our General Assembly for commentary which poked fun at
their 1991 Ethics Act. Graham also has the distinction of being the
only person officially fired from his job as communications director
for SC Secretary of State Jim Miles by an act of those same
The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To
by Tim C. Leedom, Editor
The book traces astrological and mythical origins of modern
day western religions. A Barnes & Noble bookstore in San Diego
refused to stock this book because of its content.
Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago (1971)
by Mike Royko
A Ridgefield, CT school board in 1972 banned this book from
the high school reading list, claiming it "dowgrades police
by Joseph Heller
This book was banned and/or challenged more than once. It was
banned in Srongsville, Ohio in 1972 and that decision was overturned
in 1976. It was also challenged in Dallas, Texas (1974) and again in
Snoqualmie, Washington (1979).
Catcher in the Rye (1951)
by J. D. Salinger
This is a perennial favorite of censors and has been banned in
the U.S. and Australia. In 1960, a Tulsa, OK teacher was fired for
putting the book on the 11th grade reading list. The teacher was
reinstated, but the book was permanently removed from teaching
programs. A Minnesota high school administration was attacked for
allowing the book in the school library.
The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence
by Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks
The CIA obtained a court injunction against this book's
publication stating the author, a former CIA employee, violated his
contract which states that he cannot write about the CIA without the
agency's approval. First amendment activists opposed this ruling,
"raising the question of whether a citizen can sign away his First
Amendment rights." After prolonged litigation, the CIA succeeded in
having 168 passages deleted.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
by Anne Rice (under the pseudonym, A.N. Roquelaure, written in
the early 1980s)
April 28, 1996, the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch reported
that following a complaint from a patron in the Columbus
Metropolitan Library removed the trilogy of Rice's Sleeping Beauty
books and their audio tapes after determining the books were
pornographic. These same books were also removed from the Lake
Lanier Regional Library system in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 1992.
by Michael Willhoite
A favorite of censors, this children's book about gay
parenting was the subject of a challenge in the public library. In
an all-too-familiar request, a parent complained about references to
homosexuality in material for children. The library board voted to
uphold basic library principles by retaining the book on its
appropriate shelf in the children's section.
Deadly Deceits (My 25 Years in the CIA)
by Ralph McGheehee
The CIA delayed the publication of this book for three years,
objecting to 397 passages, even though much of what the author wrote
about was already public knowledge.
by Giovanni Boccacio (1313-1375)
In Cincinnati, an "expurgated" version of Boccacio's
Decamerone is confiscated in 1922. In 1926, there is an import
ban of the book by the Treasury Department. In 1927, U.S. Customs
removes parts of text from the "Ashendene edition" and ships the
mutilated copy back to me British publisher in London. In 1932,
import ban lifted in Minnesota. In 1934, the New England Watch and
Ward Society still bans the book. In 1954, it is still on the black
lis tof the "National Organization of Decent Literature."
Dictionary of American Slang
by T.Y. Crowell, publisher
Max Rafferty, California superintendent of public instruction
in 1963, and his supporters found over 150 "dirty" passages in the
Don't Call Me Brother
by Austin Miles
In 1992, former Christian fundamentalist minister, Austin
Miles, was sued; charges were that his book, Don't Call Me Brother,
was "...a vitriolic attack upon organized Christianity." The $4
million lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court also screamed
"libel" and "slander." After a lengthy and costly process, the court
ruled that the book was not defamatory.
1-The Drowning of Stephan Jones
by Bette Greene
2-The Education of Harriet Hatfield
by May Sarton
by E. M. Forster
All three of these books, which treat homosexuality in various
ways, were removed from a regional high school. The novels' purchase
was financed by a grant that teacher Penny Culliton received and was
approved by the school superintendent and principal. However,
shortly after a local newspaper reported that Culliton was involved
with a lesbian and gay support group for young people, the books
were found unsuitable and were banned. Maurice and The Education of
Harriet Hatfield were seized from the students while they were
reading the novels in class. Personal attacks on the teacher and
demands for her dismissal have been so vehement that her job is now
by Ray Bradbury
This book is about censorship and those who ban books for fear
of creating too much individualism and independent thought. In late
1998, this book was removed from the required reading list of the
West Marion High School in Foxworth, Mississippi. A parent
complained of the use of the words "God damn" in the book.
Subsequently, the superintendent instructed the the teacher to
remove the book from the required reading list.
by Meredith Tax
A young children's book that creatively describes different
family structures, was finally removed by the Fairfax County school
board. Meredith Tax's beloved book had been under attack for a long
time, during which many individuals and organizations rose to its
defense. What's more, Families was praised by the board's own review
Flowers in the Attic
by V.C. Andrews
The county's board of education decided to remove all school
curriculum materials and library books containing any and all
"profanity" and "pornography," both concepts ill-defined. The
tremendous public outcry made the board backtrack and resolve to
review its selection policy. However, after this conciliatory
decision, and while the review process still inches along, most of
the books in Andrews's popular series Flowers in the Attic were
removed from the high-school library for "pornographic" content.
by Judy Blume
Forever censored, this wildly popular teen novel was attacked
once again for its frank treatment of adolescent sexuality and was
removed from an eighth-grade optional reading list. In Rib Lake,
Wisconsin, a school district principal had the book removed from the
library after confiscating a copy from a student in the lunchroom,
finding "graphic descriptions of sex acts."
Freedom and Order
by Henry Steele Commager
The U.S. Information Agency had this book banned from its
overseas libraries because of its condemnation of American policies
From Here to Eternity
by James Jones
This book was censored in 1951in Holyoke, Springfield,
Massachusetts and in 1953 in Jersey City, New Jersey; blacklisted by
National Organization of Decent Literature in 1954.
The Glass Teat (1970)
by Harlan Ellison
The Glass Teat is a collection of essays which appeared
as columns in the Los Angeles Free Press and Rolling Stone
during the 1960s. They were critical essay on the subject of
television broadcasting; and essays critical of the president and
vice-president. The publisher, Ace Pub. Corp. consequently recalled
his book and had it removed from bookstores. Years later it was
Grapes of Wrath (1939)
by John Steinbeck
Several months after the book's publication, a St. Louis, MO
library ordered 3 copies to be burned for the vulgar words used by
its characters. It was also banned in Kansas City and in Oklahoma.
by Allen Ginsberg
Officials of the Cold War era saw only willful destruction of
American values in a poet's grief over suffocating 1950s convention.
The Joy of Sex (1972), More Joy of Sex
by Alex Comfort
Lexington police in 1978 confiscated these sex instruction
books in accordance with a new county ordinance prohibiting the
display of sexually-oriented publications in places frequented by
The Last Mission (1979)
by Harry Mazer
Against the recommendation of school librarians, teachers, and
administrators, the board of the Carroll Middle School removed this
novel from the library for its scattered "bad words." The novel,
which was named 1979's New York Times Best Book of the Year, is
based on the author's experiences in the Air Force during World War
II. Mazer said, "It's like a slap in the face of veterans. The book
speaks about the sacrifices of the soldiers who fought in that war."
Local residents and parents petitioned and protested as well. In a
final decision, the board voted 6-1 to return the book.
The Last of the Wine
by Mary Renault
Fifth-century B.C. Athens is the setting of the historical
novel that was challenged in a high school for references to
homosexuality. Not only did the complainants and their supporters
revile the book, which enlivened an honors history class, but they
also attempted to humiliate the teacher by calling him a "sexual
predator" and accusing him of trying to "recruit" children to
homosexuality. The school board supported the teacher and the novel.
Literature in Society
In an improbable complaint about this textbook, two eminent
African-American authors were the main targets of censorship. An
excerpt from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man was deemed offensive for
its use of the word "nigger," and the sexual slang in Nikki
Giovanni's poetry was found unacceptable. School officials also
found intolerable a reference to homosexuality elsewhere in the book
and seized the ever-so-dangerous texts (that include Wordsworth and
other immoralists) while 12th-grade students were reading them.
by Vladimir Nabokov
Although it was published in Paris, it was soon (1956) to be
banned there for being obscene. An Argentinian court banned the book
in 1959 and again in 1962 ruling that the book "reflected moral
disintegration and reviled humanity." In 1960, the New Zealand
Supreme Court also banned the book. It was later freely published in
France, England, and the U.S.
Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
The Toronto School Board banned this classic from all its
schools, claiming it was racist for use of the word "niggers." Even
Golding's Nobel Prize in literature did not protect this author's
U.S. import ban on Lysistrata was lifted in 1930.This Greek
tragedy was written somewhere around 400 B.C.
Nothing New on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque
Banned in Chicago and Boston, in Austria, and Czechoslovakia
in 1929; in Germany in 1930; and in Italy in 1933. There was a
public burning in Germany in 1933.
Pentagon Papers (1971)
Commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, this 3,000
page history of U.S. involvement in Indochina, was banned from
publication by court order. The NY Times was printing portions of it
when the order came down. Later that year, the U.S. Supreme Court
overturned the decision and Bantam proceeded to publish a paperback
Portnoy's Complaint (1969)
by Philip Roth
Several libraries and librarians throughout the U.S. were
harassed and threatened for carrying this book on their shelves.
Search for Truth in History
by David Irving
This video tape has already been banned in three countries.
by Salman Rushdie
The Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran put a price on the head of this
author for writing this book which allegedly is critical of the
Islam religion. Rushdie, as a result, went into hiding for an
indefinite period of time, fearing for his life.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig
In 1977, the Illinois Police Association urged librarians to
remove the book, which portrays its characters as animals, and
presents the police as pigs. The American Library Association
reported similar complaints in 11 other states.
The Valachi Papers (1968)
by Peter Maas
Asked by the Justice Dept. to edit the papers of Mafia leader
Joseph Valachi, Maas was later sued by the Justice Dept. for trying
to publish the memoirs. The reason they said was that the book would
hamper law enforcement. The suit was settled and Putname published
the book in 1968.
Things Your Father Never Taught You
by Robert Masullo
Production of this lighthearted look at male grooming was
delayed by a born-again Christian art director who objected to a
description of Japanese furniture arranging as "occultist."
Waco: The Davidian Massacre
by Carol Moore
This controversial book challenges the government's version of
events at Waco. A public library refused to carry the book stating
the reason was that the book was privately published.
Who Built America?
Apple Computer has distributed Who Built America?, an acclaimed
history series created for CD-ROM, as part of a free software
package for schools buying its computers. When it received protests
about material relating to the history of birth control, abortion,
and homosexuality, Apple asked Voyager to delete the offending
material. Voyager refused, and Apple suspended distribution.
Following many protest letters, Apple reversed its decision and
Worlds In Collison
by Immanuel Velikovsky
In the 1950s, the scientific community tried to ban this
controversial version of the origins of our solar system because it
didn't comport with the "official" version of events. The publisher,
MacMillan, was forced to give up publication of the book even though
it was on the New York Bestsellers list at the time. If your are
interested in this Velikovsky's Worlds In Collision and The Saturn
Myth, see David Talbot's video documentary, Remembering the End of
Women on Top
by Nancy Friday
Would-be censors got their way in their demands to remove this
book from the Chestatee Public Library in Gainesville ( Hall County
), Georgia. Before a final vote was taken by the library board on
the fate of Women on Top, the book was borrowed and "accidentally"
destroyed. The board voted not to replace it.