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I am taking a blogging break for a little while. I am in the process of getting all of my challenges for 2011 picked out so you'll see a bunch of those posts.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Banned, Censored or Challenged Books J-Z

The Joy of Sex (1972), More Joy of Sex (1975) 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 minors.

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.

Lolita (1955) 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 book.

Lysistrata by Aristophanes
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 edition.

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.

Satanic Verses 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 resumed distribution.

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 the World.

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.

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