Cover image for Bookbanning in America : who bans books?--and why?
Title:
Bookbanning in America : who bans books?--and why?
Author:
Noble, William.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Middlebury, Vt. : P.S. Eriksson, [1990]

©1990
Physical Description:
xiv, 349 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780839710806
Format :
Book

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Z658.U5 N6 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Censorship has bedeviled free expression in the United States from the time of the Pilgrims. This book reveals how and why it happens, in spite of the First Amendment. Through dramatisation, aneedotes, interviews and actual trial transcripts, it shows how censorship affects politics, religion, social status, education and publishing. Before taking up writing full time more than twenty years ago, William Noble was a practicing attorney. He graduated from Lehigh University, received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, was a member of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania bars and corporate counsel to Armstrong World Industries. He teaches writing and is the author of a number of books, including several for writers.


Author Notes

William Noble is the author of 15 books, including Three Rules for Writing a Novel, The Twenty-Eight Biggest Writing Blunders, and Bookbanning in America. His articles have appeared in such magazines as Writer's Digest and Self. He lives in Island Heights, New Jersey.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The endpapers of this cogent and fluid history of book banning are covered with unexpected titles of banned books such as Moll Flanders, The Call of the Wild, A Farewell to Arms, and I, Claudius. Noble, an attorney and author of many books including those for writers, states that there are "more than one thousand bookbanning incidents in America each year." And those are only the ones that get reported. Noble quotes from transcripts of trials, school board meetings, and interviews with librarians, educators, and parents. Striving for balance, he presents both sides of the censorship issue by describing the allegedly offensive content of banned books and analyzing the motives of book banners and the role of religion, politics, and fear in well-known cases. From the earliest American libel suit to the uproar over Salman Rushdie, Noble sees book banning as a "hardy virus" that must be "confronted consistently." An important book for libraries. Notes, bibliography; index. ~--Donna Seaman


School Library Journal Review

YA-- Timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, the publication of this title strikes a warning note to book lovers across the nation: censorship flourished in 1990 as it has since the 1650 Boston book burnings. Noble writes that nearly 1000 book bannings arise each year, with recent school library cases increasing nearly 200% in the 1980s. Coverage ranges from the John Peter Zenger case of 1735 to the recent Salman Rushdie case. The fast-paced, readable material is interlaced with first-person interviews from school-board presidents, school principals, and local reporters and attorneys. Lively accounts of struggles among ad hoc parent groups, English departments, and town boards punctuate the prose. Guardians of the First Amendment will especially enjoy the research Noble brings to the history of book censorship in America. The publication dates in the extensive bibliography span the years from 1892-1989. The lists of challenged books and authors are separate from the index but include the page references. --Margaret Nolan, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

It may well be one of the classic ironies that currently there is so much petty censorship in action in the US, the nation with a written Bill of Rights admired and envied throughout the rest of the world. As both teachers and librarians know too well, there has been a remarkable rise in these incidents and many of them are not given appropriate news coverage. Noble, who was a lawyer and now is a full-time writer, has written an earnest book that, in understated language, shows the impulse to censor and illustrates its impact at the present time. These are not scholarly studies and no new legal or philosophical ground is broken. The prose is acceptable at best. What fascinates are the incidents themselves: they reflect for the most part not zealots but decent people who honestly believe that their deepest beliefs are threatened by the written word and can imagine no response but repression. In the very homey quality of the presentation, the pervasiveness of the impulse to suppress is well illustrated. The most dangerous censor is not the person ranting at a meeting; it is the friendly neighbor next door. A useful entry point for individuals beginning elementary research on censorsorship. Recommended for most public and high school libraries. -R. S. Bravard, Lock Haven University