top 10 books that are banned but not really

Top 20 books they tried to ban

by Peter Wright

Ex-MI5 agent Wright laid the British intelligence agency bare in this account of his time working as a ‘spycatcher’, revealing assassination plots, joint conspiracies with the CIA and unethical information-gathering techniques. The book was banned by the British government on its release in 1987, but remained available in Scotland and Australia and went on to sell 2 million copies.

Jung Chang’s family memoir told via three generations of women in her family gave many Western readers their first insight into life in China under the iron rule of Chairman Mao’s Communist party. With over 13 million copies sold, Wild Swans is reportedly the biggest selling non-fiction paperback of all time, but has remained banned in China since its release in 1991.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

by D H Lawrence

Lawrence’s sexually explicit tale of an adulterous love affair was banned in the UK from its release in 1928 until 1960, after Penguin won its right to publish the book under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act. After a trial in which the prosecution asked: “Is this a book you would wish your wife or servants to read?”, Penguin saw 200,000 copies of the book sell in its first day of publication.

All Quiet on the Western Front

by Erich Maria Remarque

Written by a veteran of the First World War, this unflinching portrayal of the brutality of the conflict was banned by the Nazi government in 1933 for its apparently unfavourable portrayal of German military forces. It remains one of the most respected and renowned works of fiction on World War I.

by Boris Pasternak

Pasternak’s depiction of Russian life after the Bolshevik Revolution was banned in the former Soviet Union until 1988. Such was the native hostility towards his book’s apparent criticisms of the Bolshevik party that Pasternak turned down the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 after being threatened with ejection from the USSR.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L Frank Baum

Despite appearing to most of us as an inoffensive fairy tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) was banned in many US libraries and schools in the 1930s and again in the 1950s for promoting “unwholesome” values via its independent female protagonist and its “ungodly” characters such as witches and flying monkeys.

George Orwell’s 1949 vision of a dystopian future, where all human activity is monitored and independent thought is entirely suppressed, was banned by the American Libraries Association for being a “bleak warning of totalitarian government and censorship”. Ironically, despite the book being labelled pro-Communist, it was also banned in the USSR for implicitly criticising the Soviet regime.

Joyce’s epic novel has long been considered one of the most important works of Modernist literature, but anti-vice forces in the US took issue with the book’s brief metaphorical reference to masturbation. After a 1921 trial in which it was declared obscene, Ulysses was banned in America until 1933. Originally published in Paris, it also remained banned in the UK until the 1930s.

The Diary of Anne Frank

Translated into 60 languages, the diary of the German teenager who narrated her life in hiding from the Nazis and later in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, has sold over 30 million copies worldwide since it was published in 1952. Yet the book is banned in Lebanon for depicting Jews positively; Schindler’s Ark and Sophie’s Choice are also banned.

The Satanic Verses

by Salman Rushdie

Rushdie’s notorious book, inspired in part by the life of the Prophet Mohammed, famously resulted in Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini placing a fatwa (death sentence) on Rushdie for “insulting Islam”. Violent demonstrations erupted against Rushdie around the world and several UK bookshops were firebombed for stocking the book. Most shockingly, Rushdie’s Japanese translator was murdered, his Italian translator wounded in a knife attack and his Norwegian publisher was shot and injured.

by Lawrence Wright

Although Lawrence Wright’s controversial tell-all about the inner workings of Scientology has not been banned outright, British publishers Transworld backed out of the agreement to publish in this country after taking legal advice. It seems likely that the threat of legal action from the notoriously litigious Scientology organisation is what spooked the publishers.

Operation Dark Heart

by Anthony Shaffer

This 2010 memoir by US Army intelligence officer Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer has become notorious due to the extraordinary lengths the US Defence Department went to in order to prevent sensitive information from being revealed: the first printing of nearly 10,000 copies was purchased and destroyed by the Pentagon. The book is an account of Shaffer’s five months spent in Afghanistan. It includes operational details and describes the inner workings of America’s intelligence agencies.

The phenomenal best-seller from Dan Brown, which contained a depiction of Christ marrying Mary Magdalene and fathering a child, was banned in Lebanon in 2004, with Catholic leaders condemning the “insulting” book. In 2008, the Catholic Church prevented filming of the sequel to TheDa Vinci Code film, Angels and Demons. from taking place inside Roman churches. A spokesman for the Vatican, Father Marco Fibbi, said of the decision: “Usually we read the script but in this case it wasn’t necessary. Just the name Dan Brown was enough.”

by Vladimir Nabikov

The infamous tale of a sexual relationship between a middle-aged man and a 12-year-old girl was published in 1955. Despite now being considered to be one of the finest novels written in the 20th century, the UK Home Office ordered British Customs officials to seize any copies entering the UK. The ban lasted until 1959. The eventual British publication by Weidenfeld and Nicolson caused a scandal and adversely affected the reputation of the British publisher and politician, Nigel Nicolson.

by Adolf Hitler

Hitler’s autobiography/manifesto sold millions of copies throughout the Nazi regime but was banned in Germany in 1945. In 2010, it was announced that an annotated version of the text would be published in 2015, when the copyright currently held by the Bavarian state government expires. Throughout the world, there have been numerous restrictions and outright bans on the book. For example, it was not published in Poland until 1992 and in Argentina its publication or import in significant numbers is illegal.

Harry Potter (1997 – 2007)

Having sold over 450 million copies of the Harry Potter series, J K Rowling probably isn’t too concerned about missing out on readers. However, despite Harry Potter’s popularity with a worldwide audience, the first four books in the collection have the dubious honour of being the most banned books in America. Accused of promoting witchcraft and the occult, and labelled a “masterpiece of satanic deception”, the books have been banned and burned across the US, although many schools have stood firm against parental requests to remove the books from their libraries.

The Well of Loneliness

by Radclyffe Hall

First published in 1928, the tale of a wealthy young woman tormented by her love for another woman is now considered a thinly autobiographical account of Hall’s own struggle with her sexuality. Despite depicting nothing more incendiary than a kiss between the two women, the book was subject to an obscenity trial and banned on the grounds that it was likely to “deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences”. The book returned to print in 1949 and has gone on to sell millions; it is still considered a groundbreaking work in achieving visibility for lesbians.

by John McGahern

McGahern’s second novel, published in 1965, described parental and clerical abuse taking place in rural Ireland, and was almost immediately banned by the Irish state censors on grounds of obscenity. McGahern lost his job as a teacher due to the controversy and went into hiding, refusing to publish any new work for the next five years. Prominent writers such as Samuel Beckett spoke out in McGahern’s defence, and the ban on The Dark ended in 1972. MacGahern went on to produce four more novels including the Booker Prize-nominated Amongst Women.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

For most readers, Carroll’s 1865 book is a beautifully rendered tale of discovery which has appealed to children’s imaginations across the generations. For the governor of a Chinese province, however, it was dangerously subversive. In 1931 the book was banned in Hunan province not for its allusion to mind-altering substances, but because it included talking animals. Governor Ho Chien said that it was “disastrous” to depict “animals and human beings on the same level”.

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banned books, kurt vonnegut, cult books, america, publishing, censorship, dh lawrence, lady chatterley’s lover, book news,books,culture:In October 1960, Penguin Books went on trial over the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Here are some other famous books they tried to ban

top 10 books that are banned but not really

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top 10 books that are banned but not really Top 20 books they tried to ban by Peter Wright Ex-MI5 agent Wright laid the British intelligence agency bare in this account of his time working as a ‘spycatcher’, revealing assassination plots, joint conspiracies with the CIA and unethical information-gathering techniques. The book...