You Are Here: Home » Misc » Censored Books

Censored Books

We might additionally add that the works of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, discoverer of Orgone Energy, were publicly burned in the 1950s. Reich was additionally thrown in jail for his refusal to discontinue the sales of his “Orgone Accumulator” boxes which collected the ambient orgone energy for use in curing various diseases. Reich also did experiments in weather modification. It just shows us that despite the belief of many of us that knowledge is precious and worthy of protection, there are still those who will not hesitate to destroy that with which they do not agree, thereby depriving future generations.

Censored Books

Responding to the Meese commission’s official approval of pressure- group censorship, Waldenbooks staged a promotion featuring 52 volumes that had been “challenged, burned or banned somewhere in the United States in the last 15 years.” The titles and the reasons for outrage against these books are so astounding that we decided to publish the complete list.

THE BASTARD, by John Jakes. Removed from Montour (Pennsylvania) High School library, 1976.

BLOODLINE, by Sidney Sheldon. Challenged in Abingdon, Virginia, 1980; Elizabethton, Tennessee, 1981.

BRAVE NEW WORLD, by Aldous Huxley. Removed from classroom, Miller, Missouri, 1980. Challenged frequently throughout the U.S.

CARRIE, by Stephen King. Considered “trash” that is especially harmful for “younger girls.” Challenged by Clark High School library, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1975. Placed on special closed shelf in Union High School library, Vergennes, Vermont, 1978.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, by J.D. Salinger. Considered “dangerous” because of vulgarity, occultism, violence and sexual content. Banned in Freeport High School, DeFuniak Springs, Florida, 1985. Removed from Issaquah, Washington, optional high school reading list, 1978; required reading list,

Middleville, Michingan, 1979.; Jackson-Milton school libraries, North Jackson, Ohio, 1980; Anniston, Alabama, high school libraries, 1982. Challenged by Libby (Montana) High School, 1983.

CATCH-22, by Joseph Heller. Considered “dangerous” because of objectionable language. Banned in Strongsville, Ohio, 1972 (overturned in 1976). Challenged by Dallas, Texas, Independent School District high school libraries, 1974, Snoqualmie, Washington, 1979.

THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, by Jean M. Auel. Challenged by numerous public libraries.

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, by Anthony Burgess. “Objectionable” language. Removed from Westport, Rhode Island, high school classrooms, 1977; Aurora, Colorado, high school classrooms, 1976; Anniston, Alabama, high school libraries, 1982.

THE COLOR PURPLE, by Alice Walker. Considered inappropriate because of its “troubling ideas about race relations, man’s relationship to God, African history and human sexuality.” Challenged by Oakland, California, high school honors class, 1984; rejected for purchase by Hayward, California, school trustees.

THE CRUCIBLE, by Arthur Miller. Considered dangerous because it contains “sick words from the mouths of demon-possessed people.” Challenged by Cumberland Valley High School, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1982.

CUJO, by Stephen King. Profanity and strong sexual content cited as reasons for opposition. Banned by Washington County, Alabama, Board of Education, 1985; challenged by Rankin County, Mississippi, School District, 1984; removed from Bradford, New York, school library, 1985; rejected for purchase by Hayward, California, school trustees, 1985.

DEATH OF A SALESMAN, by Arthur Miller. Cited for profanity. Banned by Spring Valley Community High School, French Lick, Indiana, 1981; challenged by Dallas, Texas, Independent School District high school libraries, 1974.

THE DEVIL’S ALTERNATE, by Frederick Forsyth. Removed by Evergreen School District, Vancouver, Washington, 1983.

THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, by Anne Frank. Objections to sexually offensive passages. Challenged by Wise County, Virginia, 1982; Alabama State Book Committee, 1983.

EAST OF EDEN, by John Steinbeck. Considered “ungodly and obscene.” Removed from Anniston, Alabama, high school libraries, 1982; Morris, Manitoba, school libraries, 1982.

A FAREWELL TO ARMS, by Ernest Hemingway. Labeled as a “sex novel.” Challenged by Dallas, Texas, Independent School District high school libraries, 1974; Vernon-Verona-Sherill, New York, School District, 1980.

FIRESTARTER, by Stephen King. Cited for “graphic descriptions of sexual acts, vulgar language and violence.” Challenged by Campbell County, Wyoming, school system, 1983-1984.

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON, by Daniel Keyes. Explicit, distasteful love scenes cited among reasons for opposition. Banned by Plant City, Florida, 1976; Emporium, Pennsylvania, 1977; Glen Rose (Arkansas) High School library, 1981. Challenged by Oberlin (Ohio) High School, 1983; Glenrock (Wyoming) High School, 1984.

FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, by V.C. Andrews. Considered “dangerous” because it contains “offensive passages concerning incest and sexual intercourse.” Challenged by Richmond (Rhode Island) High School, 1983.

FOREVER, by Judy Blume. Detractors cite its “four-letter words and [talk] about masturbation, birth control and disobedience to parents.” Challenged by Midvalley Junior-Senior High School library, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1982; Orlando, Florida, schools, 1982; Akron, Ohio, School District libraries, 1983; Howard-Suamico (Wisconsin) High School, 1983; Holdredge, Nebraska, Public Library, 1984; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Public Library, 1984; Patrick County, Virginia, School Board, 1986; Park Hill (Missouri) South Junior High School library, 1982.

THE GRAPES OF WRATH, by John Steinbeck. Considered “dangerous” because of obscene language and the unfavorable depiction of a former minister. Banned in Kanawha, Iowa, 1980; Morris, Manitoba, 1982. Challenged by Vernon-Verona- Sherill, New York, School District, 1980; Richford, Vermonth, 1991.(?)

HARRIET THE SPY, by Louise Fitzhugh. Considered “dangerous” because it “teaches children to lie, spy, back-talk and curse.” Challenged by Xenia, Ohio, school libraries, 1983.

HUCKLEBERRY FINN, by Mark Twain. Considered “dangerous” because of objectionable language and “racist” terms and content. Challenged by Winnetka, Illinois, 1976; Warrington, Pennsylvania, 1981; Davenport, Iowa, 1981; Fairfax County, Virginia, 1982; Houston, Texas, 1982; State College, Pennsylvania, area school district 1983; Springfield, Illinois, 1983 Waukegan, Illinois, 1984.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, by Maya Angelou. Considered “dangerous” because it preaches “bitterness and hatred against whites.” Challenged by Alabama State Textbook Committee, 1983.

GGIE’S HOUSE, by Judy Blume. Challenged by Caspar, Wyoming, school libraries, 1984.

IT’S OKAY IF YOU DON’T LOVE ME, by Norma Klein. Considered “dangerous” because it portrays “sex as the only thing on your people’s minds.” Banned in Haywood County, California, 1981. Removed by Widefield (Colorado) High School, 1983; Vancouver, Washington, School District, 1984.

THE LIVING BIBLE, by William C. Bower. Considered “dangerous” because it is “a perverted commentary on the King James Version.” Burned in Gastonia, North Carolina, 1986.

LORD OF THE FLIES, by William Golding. Considered “demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal.” Challenged by Dallas, Texas, Independent School District high school libraries, 1974; Sully Buttes (South Dakota) High School, 1981; Owen (North Carolina) High School, 1981; Marana (Arizona) High School, 1983; Olney, Texas, Independent School District, 1984.

LOVE IS ONE OF THE CHOICES, by Norma Klein. Removed from Evergreen School District, Vancouver, Washington, 1983.

THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, by Ray Bradbury. Profanity and the use of God’s name in vain sparked opposition to this novel. Challenged by Haines City (Florida) High School, 1982.

MATARESE CIRCLE, by Robert Ludlum. “Unnecessarily rough language and sexual descriptions” caused opposition to this novel. Restricted (to students with parental consent) by Pierce (Nebraska) High School, 1983.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, by William Shakespeare. Objections to purported anti-Semitism. Banned by Midland, Michigan, classrooms, 1980.

NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, by George Orwell. Objections to pro- Communist material and explicit sexual matter. Challenged by Jackson County, Florida, 1981.

OF MICE AND MEN, by John Steinbeck. Considered “dangerous” because of its profanity and “vulgar language.” Banned in Syracuse, Indiana, 1974; Oil City, Pennsylvania, 1977; Grand Blanc, Michigan, 1979; Continental, Ohio, 1980l Skyline High School, Scottsboro, Alabama, 1983. Challenged by Greenville, South Carolina, 1977; Vernon-Verona- Sherill, New York, School District, 1980; St. David, Arizona, 1981; Telly City, Indiana, 1982; Knoxville, Tennessee, School Board, 1984.

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Objectionable language. Removed by Milton (New Hampshire) High School library, 1976. Challenged by Mahwah, New Jersey, 1976; Omak, Washington, 1979; Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Buckland, Mass, 1981.

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, by Ken Kesey. Removed from required reading list by Westport, Massachusetts, 1977. Banned by Freemont High School, St. Anthony, Idaho. (Instructor was fired.) Challenged by Merrimack (New Hampshire) High School, 1982.

ORDINARY PEOPLE, bu Judith Guest. Called “obscene” and “depressing.” Banned (temporarily) by Merrimack (New Hampshire) High School, 1982.

OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SHEILA THE GREAT, by Judy Blume. Challenged by Caspar, Whyoming, school libraries, 1984.

THE PIGMAN, by Paul Zindel. Considered “dangerous” because it features “liars, cheaters and stealers.” Challenged by Hillsboro, Missouri, School District, 1985.

THE RED PONY, by John Steinbeck. Called a “filthy, trashy sex novel.” Challenged by Vernon-Verona- Sherill, New York, School District, 1980.

THE SEDUCTION OF PETER S., by Lawrence Sanders. Called “blatantly graphic, pornographic and wholly unacceptable for a high school library.” Burned by Stroudsburg (Pennsylvania) High School library, 1985.

A SEPARATE PEACE, by John Knowles. Detractors cite offensive language and sex as dangerous elements in this novel. Challenged by Vernon-Verona-Sherill, New York, School District, 1980; Fannett-Metal High School, Shippensburg, Pa, 1985.

THE SHINING, by Stephen King. Considered dangerous because it “contains violence and demonic possession and ridicules the Christian religion.” Challenged by Campbell County, Wyoming, school system, 1983. Banned by Washington County, Alabama, Board of Education, 1985.

SILAS MARNER, by George Eliot. Banned by Union High School, Anaheim, California, 1978.

SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Considered “dangerous” because of violent, irreverent, profane and sexually explicit content. Burned in Drake, North Carolina, 1973; Rochester, Michigan, 1972; Levittown, New York, 1975; North Jackson, Ohio, 1979; Lakeland, Florida, 1982. Barred from purchase by Washington Park High School, Racine, Wi, 1984. Challenged by Owensboro (Kentucky) High School library, 1985.

SUPERFUDGE, by Judy Blume. Disapproval based on “profane, immoral and offensive” content. Challenged by Caspar, Wyoming, school libraries, 1984; Bozeman, Montana, school libraries, 1985.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW, by S.E. Hinton. Objections to “graphic language, subject matter, immoral tone and lack of literary quality.” Challenged by Pagosa Springs, Colorado, 1983.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee. Considered “dangerous” because of profanity and undermining of race relations. Challenged (temporaily banned) in Eden Valley, Minnesota, 1977; Vernon-Verona-Sherill, New York, School District, 1980; Warren, Indiana, township schools, 1981; Waukegan, Illinois, School District, 1984; Kansas City, Missouri, junior high schools, 1985; Park Hill (Missouri) Junior High School, 1985. Protested by black parents and NAACP in Casa Grande (Arizona) Elementary School District, 1985.

ULYSSES, by James Joyce. “Given its long history of censorship, ULYSSES has rarely been selected for high school libraries.” — Judith Krug, director, Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 1986.

UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, by Harriet B. Stowe. Use of the word nigger caused opposition. Challenged by Waukegan, Illinois, School District, 1984.

WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, by Shel Silverstein. Considered by opponents to undermine parental, school and religious authority. Pulled from shelves for review by Minot, North Dakota, public school libraries, 1986. Challenged by Xenia, Ohio, school libraries, 1983..

Sources for all of the above information: American Library Association RESOURCE BOOK FOR BANNED BOOK WEEK 1986 and the NEWSLETTER ON INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM, published by the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Complete documentation is available from the American Library Association.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to top