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Banned Books Week: Let's not forget the writers

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A recent Chapter & Verse post, “Banned Books Week: 5 books almost anyone might want to burn,” sparked a conflagration of sorts in the comment box.

“Wrong wrong wrong,” wrote one commenter. “I can't imagine banning a single one of these books, however distasteful the author might find them. They all might be the rantings of madmen, but when madmen are or have been influential, taking the time to understand them can be of great importance.”

From commenter Donna: “Banning any book is a slippery slope. Bin Laden, Hitler, the Marquis de Sade, Holocaust deniers, and pseudo scientists are part of history. Banning their writings won't make the horror they wrought go away.”

Well put, readers.

Those who attempt to ban books, especially on political grounds, are often trying to revise history or control the thoughts and collective psyche of society. No matter how repugnant the contents may be, the act of banning a book is dangerous indeed. The Russians, Nazis, and even the British, used propaganda and historical revision to great effect, in large part by banning and burning books deemed subversive by the regimes in power.

George Orwell’s “1984” wasn’t allowed in Russia until 1990, and even then it was heavily edited.


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