List of books banned by governments

Banned books are books or other printed works such as essays or plays which are prohibited by law or to which free access is not permitted by other means. The practice of banning books is a form of censorship, from political, legal, religious, moral, or (less often) commercial motives. This article lists notable banned books and works, giving a brief context for the reason that each book was prohibited. Banned books include fictional works such as novels, poems and plays and non-fiction works such as biographies and dictionaries.

Since there are a large number of banned books, some publishers have specialized in them. The best-known examples are the Parisian Obelisk Press, which published Henry Miller's sexually frank novel Tropic of Cancer, and Olympia Press, which published William Burroughs's Naked Lunch. Both of these, the work of father Jack Kahane and son Maurice Girodias, specialized in English-language books which were prohibited, at the time, in Great Britain and the United States. Ruedo ibérico, also located in Paris, specialized in books prohibited in Spain during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Russian literature prohibited during the Soviet period was published outside of Russia.

Books are still banned throughout the world. Nowhere in the world can everything be published, although the prohibitions vary strikingly from one country to another: hate speech, for example, is prohibited in a number of countries, such as Sweden, though the same books may be legal in the United States or United Kingdom, where the only prohibition is on child pornography.

In the United States, books have been and still are banned by school and public libraries, despite the opposition of the American Library Association to book bans. This is usually the result of complaints from parents, who find particular books not appropriate for their children (e.g., books about sexual orientation such as And Tango Makes Three). In many libraries, including the British Library and the Library of Congress, erotic books are housed in separate collections in restricted access reading rooms. In some libraries, a special application may be needed to read certain books.[1] Libraries sometimes avoid purchasing controversial books, and the personal opinions of librarians have at times impacted book selection.

Alphabetical list

Title Author Year published Type Description of the case(s)
About a Silence in LiteratureŽivorad StojkovićEssayBanned in Yugoslavia by court order in 1951.[2]
Alice's Adventures in WonderlandLewis Carroll1865Children's novel/adventureFormerly banned in the province of Hunan, China, beginning in 1931,[3] for its portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level of complexity as human beings. The censor General Ho Chien believed that attributing human language to animals was an insult to humans. He feared that the book would teach children to regard humans and animals on the same level, which would be "disastrous".[4]
All Quiet on the Western FrontErich Maria Remarque1929Anti-war novelBanned in Nazi Germany for being demoralizing and insulting to the Wehrmacht.[3][5]
American PsychoBret Easton Ellis1991NovelSale and purchase was banned in the Australian State of Queensland. Now available in public libraries and for sale to people 18 years and older. Sale restricted to persons at least 18 years old in the other Australian states.[6]
An Area of DarknessV. S. Naipaul1964TravelogueBanned in India for its negative portrayal of India and its people.[7]
The Anarchist CookbookWilliam Powell1971InstructionalBanned in Australia.[8]
Angaray[9]Sajjad Zaheer, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan, and Mahmud-uz-Zafar1932Progressive short storiesBanned in India in 1936 by the British government.[10]
Animal FarmGeorge Orwell1945Political novellaCompleted in 1943, Orwell found that no publisher would print the book, due to its criticism of the USSR, an important ally of Britain in the War.[11] Once published, the book was banned in the USSR and other communist countries.[12] In 2002, the novel was banned in the schools of the United Arab Emirates, because it contained text or images that goes against Islamic values, most notably the occurrence of an anthropomorphic, talking pig.[13] The book is still banned in North Korea, and censored in Vietnam.
Another CountryJames Baldwin1962NovelBanned in Australia by the Commonwealth Customs Department in February 1963. The Literature Censorship Board described it as "continually smeared with indecent, offensive and dirty epithets and allusions," but recommended that the book remain available to "the serious minded student or reader." The ban was lifted in May 1966.[14]
Apocalypse CultureAdam Parfrey1987non-fictionCollection of articles, interviews, and documents that explore the various marginal aspects of culture. It was banned in Russia in July 2006 by court order for propaganda of drug use, after its first and only Russian publication by "UltraCulture" publishing (Ультра.Культура). All the printed copies of that Russian edition were destroyed.
AreopagiticaJohn Milton1644EssayBanned in the Kingdom of England for political reasons.[15]
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of CapitalismHa-Joon Chang2008Non-fictionOne of 23 books which from August 1, 2008 onward is banned for distribution within the South Korean military.[16]
Beijing ComaMa Jian2008NovelBanned in China.[17]
The Biblesee Authorship of the Biblesee Dating the BibleReligious textAt present, the Bible has been banned in Saudi Arabia. In a number of countries, bible translation, distribution, sale or promotion is prohibited or made difficult, and the Bible may be considered extremist materials.[18] Historically, some countries banned the Bible in certain languages or versions. The Bible in Spanish was prohibited in Spain from the sixteenth until the nineteenth century.[19] In 1234, King James I of Aragon ordered the burning of Bibles in the vernacular.[20] In 2015, Russia banned import of the Jehovah's Witnesses' New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.[21]
Big River, Big Sea – Untold Stories of 1949Lung Ying-tai2009Non-fictionIt sold over 100,000 copies in Taiwan and 10,000 in Hong Kong in its first month of release, but discussion of her work was banned in mainland China following the book launch.[22]
Borstal BoyBrendan Behan1958Autobiographical novelBanned in Ireland in 1958. The Irish Censorship of Publications Board was not obliged to reveal its reason but it is believed that it was rejected for its critique of Irish republicanism and the Catholic Church, and its depiction of adolescent sexuality. It was banned in Australia and New Zealand shortly after. It was allowed to be published in New Zealand in 1963.[23]
The BoysGarth Ennis2012Comic book seriesBanned in Qatar in 2012.[24]
Brave New WorldAldous Huxley1932NovelBanned in Ireland in 1932, allegedly because of references of sexual promiscuity.[25] Banned in Australia from 1932 to 1937.[8]
Burger's DaughterNadine Gordimer1979NovelBanned in South Africa in July 1979 for going against the government's racial policies; the ban was reversed in October of the same year.[13]
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and WeptElizabeth Smart1945Autobiographical prose poetryBanned in Canada from 1945-75 under the influence of Smart's family's political power due to its sexual documentation of Smart's affair with a married man.
CandideVoltaire1759NovelSeized by US Customs in 1930 for obscenity.[26]
The Canterbury TalesGeoffrey Chaucerlate 14th centuryStory collectionBanned from US mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing "obscene," "filthy," or "inappropriate" material.[26]
Castration of the WindPrvoslav VujčićPoemsWritten in Tuzla prison in 1984. Banned in Yugoslavia by court order in 1984; republished in 2005.[2]
Catch-22Joseph Heller1961NovelBanned in several US states: in 1972, it was banned in Strongsville, Ohio (overturned in 1976); in 1974, it was banned in Dallas, Texas and in Snoqualmie, Washington in 1979, because it has several references to women as "whores".[27]
The Communist ManifestoKarl Marx and Friedrich Engels1848Non-FictionProhibited by several countries, including Tsarist Russia and Nazi Germany. [28]
The Country GirlsEdna O'Brien1960NovelBanned by Ireland's censorship board in 1960 for its explicit sexual content.[29][30]
The Cover-up GeneralEdwin Giltay2014Non-fiction thrillerBanned in the Netherlands by court order in 2015 as a former spy of Dutch military intelligence claimed she was described falsely in this Srebrenica book.[31] Ban lifted by the Court of Appeal of The Hague in 2016.[32][33]
Curved RiverŽivojin Pavlović1963story collectionIn 1963 in Yugoslavia withdrawn by the publisher (Nolit) at request of SDB officials.[34]
The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown2003NovelBanned in September 2004 in Lebanon after Catholic leaders deemed it offensive to Christianity. (See Inaccuracies in The Da Vinci Code.)[3][35]
The DarkJohn McGahern1965NovelBanned in Ireland for obscenity.[36]
The Death of LorcaIan Gibson1971BiographyBanned briefly in Spain.[37]
The DecameronGiovanni Boccaccio1353Story collectionBanned from US mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing "obscene," "filthy," or "inappropriate" material.[26] Banned in Australia from 1927 to 1936 and from 1938 to 1973.[38]
The Devil's DiscusRayne Kruger1964Non-fictionBanned in Thailand in 2006.[39]
Dictionary of Modern Serbo-Croatian LanguageMiloš MoskovljevićDictionaryBanned in Yugoslavia by court order in 1966, at request of Mirko Tepavac, because "some definitions can cause disturbance among citizens".[34]
Doctor ZhivagoBoris Pasternak1955-1988NovelBanned in the Soviet Union until 1988 for criticizing life in Russia after the Russian Revolution. When its author, Boris Pasternak, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 he was forced to reject it under government pressure.[3]
Droll StoriesHonoré de Balzac1837Short storiesBanned for obscenity in Canada in 1914, Ireland in 1953, and Australia from 1901 to 1923 and 1928 to c.1973.[40] The ban was lifted in Ireland in 1967.[41][42]
Ecstasy and MeHedy Lamarr1966AutobiographyBanned in Australia from 1967 until 1973.[8]
Elmer GantrySinclair Lewis1927NovelBanned in Boston, Massachusetts, Kansas City, Missouri, Camden, New Jersey and other US cities, this novel by Sinclair deals with fanatical religiosity and hypocrisy in the United States during the 1920s by presenting a skeevy preacher (the Reverend Dr. Elmer Gantry) as a protagonist who prefers easy money, booze, and "enticing young girls" over saving souls, all while converting a traveling tent revival crusade into a profitable and permanent evangelical church and radio empire for his employers. Elmer Gantry also widely denounced from pulpits across the United States at the time of its initial publication.[43][44]
Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of PleasureJohn Cleland1748NovelBanned in the US in 1821 for obscenity, then again in 1963. This was the last book ever banned by the US government.[5] See also Memoirs v. Massachusetts. Note that other books have been banned since by court orders.
Feast for the SeaweedsHaidar Haidar1983NovelBanned in Egypt and several other Arab states, and even resulted in a belated angry reaction from the clerics of Al-Azhar University upon reprinting in Egypt in the year 2000. The clerics issued a fatwa banning the novel, and accused Haidar of heresy and offending Islam. Al-Azhar University students staged huge protests against the novel, that eventually led to its confiscation.[45][46][47]
The Federal MafiaIrwin Schiff1992Non-fictionAn injunction was issued by a US District Court in Nevada under 26 U.S.C. § 7408 against Irwin Schiff and associates Cynthia Neun and Lawrence Cohen, against the sale of this book by those persons as the court found that the information it contains is fraudulent[48]
Fifty Shades TrilogyE L James2011-12NovelThe entire trilogy was banned in Malaysia from 2015 for containing "sadistic" material and "threat to morality".[49]
Forever Amber (1944)Kathleen Winsor1944NovelBanned in fourteen states in the US, and by Australia in 1945 as "a collection of bawdiness, amounting to sex obsession."[50][51]
Frankenstein (1818)Mary Shelley1818NovelBanned in apartheid South Africa in 1955 for containing "obscene" or "indecent" material.[26]
The Fugitive (Perburuan) (1950)Pramoedya Ananta Toer1950NovelBanned in Indonesia in 1950, for containing "subversive" material, including an attempt to promote Marxist–Leninist thought and other Communist theories. As of 2006, the ban is still in effect.[13]
The First Circle (1968)Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn1968NovelAfter Nikita Khrushchev was removed from power in 1964, all current and future works by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn were banned in the Soviet Union. This work details the lives of scientists forced to work in a Stalinist research center.[52]
The Gods Laugh on Mondays (1995)Reza Khoshnazar1995NovelWas banned in Iran after men torched its publication house.[53]
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)John Steinbeck1939NovelWas temporarily banned in many places in the US. In the state of California in which it was partially set, it was banned for its alleged unflattering portrayal of area residents.[54]
Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India (2011)Joseph Lelyveld2011BiographyCurrently banned in Gujarat, a state in western India, for suggesting that Mahatma Gandhi had a homosexual relationship. Gujarat's state assembly voted unanimously in favour of the ban in April 2011.[55]
The Gulag Archipelago (1973)Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn1973Non-fictionBanned in the Soviet Union because it went against the image the Soviet Government tried to project of itself and its policies.[56] However, it has been available in the former Soviet Union since at least the 1980s. In 2009, the Education Ministry of Russia added The Gulag Archipelago to the curriculum for high-school students.[57]
Happy New Year (1975)Rubem Fonseca1975FictionBanned in Brazil by the censorship during the military regime.[58]
The Heart of India (1958)Alexander Campbell1958FictionBanned by the Indian government in 1959 on grounds of being "repulsive".[7]
He Himself (1748)Edward Cangas1748AutobiographyBanned in the Philippines in 1821 for obscenity, then again in 1963. This was the last book ever banned in Batasan Hills Quezon City[5] See also The Man Who Rode a Shark.
How to make disposable silencers (1984)Desert and Eliezer Flores1984InstructionalAn example of a class of books banned in Australia that "promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence".[59][60]
The House of GoldLiam O'Flaherty1929NovelThe first book to be banned by the Irish Free State. for alleged "indecency". Republished in 2013.[61]
The House of the SpiritsIsabel Allende1982NovelBanned in Pinochet's Chile. [62]
Howl (1955)Allen Ginsberg1955PoemCopies of the first edition seized by San Francisco Customs for obscenity in March 1957; after trial, obscenity charges were dismissed.[63]
The Hoax of the Twentieth CenturyArthur ButzNon-fictionClassified as "hate literature" in Canada with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police destroying copies as recently as 1995.[64]
I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation (2005)Michela Wrong2005HistoryBanned in Eritrea in 2014 for its criticism of President Isaias Afewerki[65]
Into the River (2012) Ted Dawe 2012Novel Banned in New Zealand in 2015; subsequently unrestricted in the same year.[66]
Islam – A Concept of Political World Invasion (2003)R. V. Bhasin2003Political ideologyBanned in Maharashtra, India in 2007, after its publishing on grounds that it promotes communal disharmony between Hindus and Muslims.[67][68]
July's People (1981)Nadine Gordimer1981NovelBanned during the Apartheid-era in South Africa.[69] July's People is now included in the South African school curriculum.[70]
Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence (2009)Jaswant Singh2009BiographyTemporarily banned in Gujarat, India in August 2009.[71] The ban was overturned by the Gujarat High Court in December 2009.[72]
Jinnah of Pakistan (1982)Stanley Wolpert1982BiographyBanned in Pakistan for recounting Jinnah's taste for wine and pork.[73]
Jæger – i krig med eliten (2009)Thomas Rathsack2009AutobiographyThe Danish military tried to ban the book September 2009 for national security reasons; a court rejected the ban as the book was already leaked in the press and on the Internet.[74]
The Jungle (1906)Upton Sinclair1906NovelIn 1956, it was banned in East Germany for its incompatibility with Communism.[75]
The King Never Smiles (2006)Paul M. Handley2006BiographyBanned in Thailand for its criticism of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.[76]
Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)D. H. Lawrence1928NovelTemporarily banned in the United States and the United Kingdom for violation of obscenity laws; both bans were lifted in 1959 and 1960, respectively.[42]

Banned in Australia from 1929 to 1965.[8][77]

Chinese translation by Rao Shu-yi denied open publication by China's Central Bureau in 1936, and it ordered booksellers to stop advertising and selling the novel.[78]

Lajja (1993)Taslima Nasrin1993NovelBanned in Bangladesh,[79][80] and a few states of India. Other books by her were also banned in Bangladesh or in the Indian state of West Bengal. Amar Meyebela (My Girlhood, 2002), the first volume of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladeshi government in 1999 for "reckless comments" against Islam and the prophet Mohammad.[81] Utal Hawa (Wild Wind), the second part of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladesh government in 2002.[82] Ka (Speak up), the third part of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladeshi High Court in 2003. Under pressure from Indian Muslim activists, the book, which was published in West Bengal as Dwikhandita, was banned there also; some 3,000 copies were seized immediately.[83] The decision to ban the book was criticised by "a host of authors" in West Bengal,[84] but the ban wasn't lifted until 2005.[85][86] Sei Sob Ondhokar (Those Dark Days), the fourth part of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladesh government in 2004.[87][88]
Lethal MarriageNick PronTrue crimeWritten by a newspaper reporter about the Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka case, this book allegedly contains inaccuracies, additionally, complaints were received by the St. Catharines library board from the mother of a victim that led to the book being removed from all public library branches in the city.[64] As recently as 1999 this book was still unavailable to public library patrons in St. Catherines.[64]
Les MoeursFrançois-Vincent ToussaintBookOfficially banned in France in 1748.[89]
Little Black Sambo (1899)Helen Bannerman1899Children's storyBanned in Japan (1988–2005) to quell "political threats to boycott Japanese cultural exports", although the pictures were not those of the original version.[90]
Lolita (1955)Vladimir Nabokov1955NovelFrench officials banned it for being "obscene," as did the United Kingdom, Argentina, New Zealand (uncensored 1964), and South Africa.[91]

Banned in Canada in 1958, though the ban was later lifted.[92]

The Lonely Girl (1962)Edna O'Brien1962NovelBanned in Ireland in 1962 after Archbishop John Charles McQuaid complained personally to Justice Minister Charles Haughey that it "was particularly bad".[30]
Lord Horror (1990) David Britton 1990 Novel Banned in England in 1991 where it was found obscene, and is currently the last book to be banned in the UK. The judge ordered the remaining print run to be destroyed. The ban was lifted at the Appeal Courts in July 1992 but the book remains out of print.
The Lottery (1948)Shirley Jackson1948Short storyBanned in South Africa during Apartheid.[93]
Love Comes Later (2014)Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar2014NovelBanned in Qatar.[94]
Lysistrata (411 BC)AristophanesPlayBanned in 1967 in Greece because of its anti-war message.[26]
Madame Bovary (1856)Gustave Flaubert1856NovelAfter appearing as a successful serial in the Revue de Paris Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary goes on trial in France on January 30, 1857, for "offenses against public morals", but did not succeed in court.
The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up (2012)Jacob M. Appel2012NovelBanned in Qatar in 2014 for its depiction of Islam.[95]
The Mask of Sanity (2017)Jacob M. Appel2017NovelBanned preemptively in Malaysia for blasphemy.[96]
Mein Kampf (1925)Adolf Hitler1925Political manifestoBanned in some European nations and the Russian Federation as extremist.[97]

Banned in Guatemala during the regime of Jorge Ubico.[98]

In Germany, the copyright of the book was held by the Federal Government of the Free State of Bavaria, and Bavarian authorities prevented any reprinting from 1945 onward. This did not affect existing copies, which were available as vintage books. In 2016, following the expiration of the copyright, Mein Kampf was republished in Germany for the first time since 1945 as a commented edition by the Institut für Zeitgeschichte.[99]

In Austria, the Verbotsgesetz 1947 prohibits the printing of the book. It is illegal to own or distribute existing copies.[100] Following the general prohibition of advocating the Nazi Party or its aims in § 3 and of re-founding Nazi organizations in § 1, § 3 d. of the Verbotsgesetz states: "Whoever publicly or before several people, through printed works or disseminated texts or illustrations requests, encourages or seeks to induce others to commit any of the acts prohibited under § 1 or § 3, especially if for this purpose he gloryfies (sic) or advertises the aims of the Nazi Party, its institutions or its actions, provided that it does not constitute a more serious criminal offense, will be punished with imprisonment from five to ten years, or up to twenty years if the offender or his actions are especially dangerous."[100]

In Poland it was banned until 1992.[3]

Memoirs of Hecate County (1946)Edmund Wilson1946NovelBanned in the United States until 1959.
The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption (1650)William Pynchon1650Religious critiqueThe first book banned in the New World. Pynchon, a prominent leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who, in 1636, founded the City of Springfield, Massachusetts, wrote this explicit critique of Puritanism, published in London in 1650. That year, several copies made their way back to the New World. Pynchon, who resided in Springfield, was unaware that his book suffered the New World's first book burning, on the Boston Common. Accused of heresy by the Massachusetts General Court, Pynchon quietly transferred ownership of the Connecticut River Valley's largest land-holdings to his son, and then suffered indignities as he left the New World for England. It was the first work banned in Boston.[101]
A Message to Man and HumanityAleksandar CvetkovićBanned in Yugoslavia by court order in 1967 for "false and wicked claims, and enemy propaganda that supports pro-Chinese politics".[34]
Mirror of the Polish Crown (1618)Sebastian Miczyński1618Anti-Semitic pamphletBecause this pamphlet published in 1618 was one of the causes of the anti-Jewish riots in Cracow, it was banned by Sigismund III Vasa.[102]
Moll Flanders or The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722)Daniel Defoe1722NovelBanned from the U.S. mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing "obscene," "filthy," or "inappropriate" material[103]
The Mountain Wreath (1847)Petar II Petrović-Njegoš1847Drama in verseBanned in Bosnian schools by Carlos Westendorp.[104]
My Father's Daughter (2005)Hannah Pool2005FictionBanned in Eritrea in 2014 for political content[65]
My Watch (2005)Olusegun Obasanjo2014AutobiographyBanned in Nigeria because this three-volume memoirs of the former Nigerian president were highly critical of nearly everyone in Nigerian politics. The books were ordered to be seized by the High Court in Nigeria until a libel case had been heard in court.[105]
Naked Lunch (1959)William S. Burroughs1959NovelBanned by Boston courts in 1962 for obscenity, but that decision was reversed in 1966 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.[106]
Naree (1992) Humayun Azad 1992Criticism Banned in Bangladesh in 1995.[107]
The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System (1957)Milovan ĐilasBanned in Yugoslavia by court order in 1957; author sentenced for enemy propaganda to seven years in prison, prolonged to 13 years in 1962.[34]
The Nickel-Plated-Feet Gang During the Occupation (Les Pieds nickelés dans le maquis)Successors of Louis Forton1879–1934Comic bookBanned in Yugoslavia by court order in 1945.[2]
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)George Orwell1949NovelBanned by the Soviet Union[3] in 1950, as Stalin understood that it was a satire based on his leadership. It was nearly banned by the US and UK in the early 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was not until 1990 that the Soviet Union legalised the book and it was re-released after editing.[108]
fr:Noir Canada (2008)Alain Deneault2008Documentary BookBanned from sale in Canada following two defamation lawsuit from Barrick Gold and Banro and an out-of-court settlement.[109]
Notre ami le roi (1993)Gilles Perrault1993Biography of Hassan II of MoroccoBanned in Morocco. This book is a biography of King Hassan and examines cases of torture, killing, and political imprisonment said to have been carried out by the Moroccan Government at his orders.[110]
Nine Hours To Rama (1962)Stanley Wolpert1962NovelBanned in India. It exposes persons responsible for security lapses that led to Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.[111]
The Naked and the Dead (1948)Norman Mailer1948NovelBanned in Canada in 1949 for "obscenity."[112]
On Fierce Wound – Fierce HerbRatko ZakićWithdrawn from sales and destroyed after the decision of the Municipal Committee of the League of Communists of Kraljevo in Kraljevo, Yugoslavia in 1967.[34]
On the Origins and Perpetual Use of the Legislative Powers of the Apostolic Kings of Hungary in Matters Ecclesiastical (1764)Adam F. Kollár1764PoliticalBanned in the Papal States for arguments against the political role of the Roman Catholic Church.[113] Original title: De Originibus et Usu perpetuo.
One Day of Life (1980)Manlio Argueta1980NovelBanned by El Salvador for its portrayal of human rights violations.[114]
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962)Alexander Solzhenitsyn1962NovelBanned from publication in the Soviet Union in 1964.[13]
Onward Muslim SoldiersRobert Spencer (author)2003Non-fictionOn July 12, 2007, the government of Malaysia announced a ban on Spencer's book, citing "confusion and anxiety among the Muslims" as the cause.[115]
The 120 Days of Sodom (1789)Marquis de Sade1789NovelBanned by the Australian Government in 1957 for obscenity.[116]
Operation Dark Heart (2010)Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer2010MemoirIn September 2010 the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) overrode the Army's January approval for publication. The DoD then purchased and destroyed all 9,500 first edition copies citing concerns that it contained classified information which could damage national security. The publisher, St. Martin's Press,[117] in conjunction with the DoD created a censored second edition; which contains blackened out words, lines, paragraphs, and even portions of the index.[118]
The Outline of HistoryH. G. Wells1920Non-FictionWells' book was banned in Nazi Germany. [119]
The Peaceful Pill Handbook (2007)Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart2007Instructional manual on euthanasiaInitially banned in New Zealand by Office of Film & Literature Classification since it was deemed to be objectionable.[120] In May 2008 an edited version of the book was allowed for sale if sealed and an indication of the censorship classification was displayed. The book was initially restricted in Australia:[121] after review the 2007 edition was banned outright.[60][122][123]
Persepolis (2000)Marjane Satrapi2000NovelIn 2013, banned in Chicago classrooms, leading to public outcry.[124]
Peyton Place (1956)Grace Metalious1956NovelBanned in Canada from 1956–1958.[92]
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903)Unknown1903A forgery, portraying an alleged Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.Banned in various libraries and many attempts to ban in various nations, such as in Russia.[125]
Përbindëshi (The Monster) (1965)Ismail Kadare1965-1990NovelBanned for 25 years in Albania.[126]
The QuranMuslimReligious textAs with many holy books, the Quran has been subject to scrutiny and censorship at various points throughout history. Proposals and movements advocating outright bans of the Quran are uncommon in the West, occurring only among extremist right-wing circles.[127] The Quran was completely banned in China during the Mao era, and is still completely banned in North Korea, similar to the Holy Bible used for Christians. In 1985, Chandmal Chopra filed a writ Petition at the Kolkata High Court in India, trying to obtain an order banning the Quran.[128] The most notable recent (and controversial) ban of a translated edition of the Quran happened in 2013 when a Russian court censored the text under the country's 'extremism' laws.[129]
Rangila Rasul (1927)Pt. Chamupati1927ReligiousCurrently banned in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.[130]
Rights of Man (1791)Thomas Paine1791Political theoryBanned in the UK and author charged with treason for supporting the French Revolution.[26] Banned in Tsarist Russia after the Decembrist revolt.[131]
Rowena Goes Too Far (1931)H. C. Asterley1931NovelBanned in Australia because of customs belief that it "lacked sufficient claim to the literary to excuse the obscenity"[132]
The Satanic Verses (1988)Salman Rushdie1988NovelBanned in the following countries for alleged blasphemy against Islam: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand.[133][134]
The Satanic Bible (1969)Anton LaVey1969Religious textBanned during apartheid in South Africa from 1973 to 1993 for moral reasons.[135]
Satyarth PrakashDayananda Saraswati1875Religious textSwami Dayananda's religious text Satyarth Prakash was banned in some princely states and in Sindh in 1944 and is still banned in Sindh.[136]
Schindler's Ark (1982)Thomas Keneally1982NovelBanned in Lebanon for its positive depiction of Jews.[3]
Scouting for the Reaper (2014)Jacob M. Appel2014FictionBanned in Eritrea in 2014 for its criticism of civil liberties under President Isaias Afewerki[65]
El Señor PresidenteMiguel Ángel Asturias1946NovelBanned in Guatemala because it went against the ruling political leaders.[137]
Sexual Customs ("Xing Fengsu") (1989).1989Non-FictionBanned in China in 1989 for insulting Islam[138][139][140][141][142][143][144][145][146][147][148][149][150]
Shivaji – Hindu King in Islamic India (2003)James Laine2003HistoryBanned in Indian state of Maharashtra in 2004 for "promoting social enmity"; ban overturned by Bombay High Court in 2007.[151]
Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim (1984)Sunanda K. Datta-Ray1984HistoryBanned in India. Describes the process of the annexation of the Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim by the Indian government of Indira Gandhi in 1975.[111]
A Sneaking Suspicion (1995)John Dickson1995Religious TextBanned by the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities from state schools May 6, 2015 on the basis of a "potential risk to students in the delivery of this material, if not taught sensitively and in an age appropriate manner."[152] The ban was lifted May 18, 2015.
Snorri the Seal (1941)Frithjof Sælen1941FableSatirical book banned during the German occupation of Norway.[153]
Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada (1989)Zuhair Kashmeri & Brian McAndrew1989Investigative journalismBanned in India.[154]
Sophie's Choice (1979)William Styron1979NovelBanned in Lebanon for its positive depiction of Jews.[3]
The Spanish LabyrinthGerald Brenan1943Non-FictionBanned in Francoist Spain because of its strong criticism of the Nationalist Faction's actions during the Spanish Civil War. [155]
A Spoon on EarthHyeon Gi-yeongNovelBanned for distribution within the South Korean military as one of 23 books banned there beginning in August 2008.[16][156]
Spycatcher (1985)Peter Wright1985AutobiographyBanned in the UK 1985–1988 for revealing secrets. Wright was a former MI5 intelligence officer and his book was banned before it was even published in 1987.[157][158]
The Story of FerdinandMunro Leaf1936Children's FictionBanned in Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain. [159]
Storytellers IIBoško NovakovićShort storiesWithdrawn from print in Yugoslavia in 1964 because it contained stories by Dragiša Vasić.[34]
The Struggle Is My LifeNelson Mandela1978Non-FictionBanned in Apartheid South Africa until 1990. [160]
The Stud (1969)Jackie Collins1969NovelBanned in Australia in 1969.[8]
Suicide mode d'emploi (1982)Claude Guillon1982InstructionalThis book, reviewing recipes for committing suicide, was the cause of a scandal in France in the 1980s, resulting in the enactment of a law prohibiting provocation to commit suicide and propaganda or advertisement of products, objects, or methods for committing suicide.[161] Subsequent reprints were thus illegal. The book was cited by name in the debates of the French National Assembly when examining the bill.[162]
ThaliaArius (AD 250 or 256 – 336)Theological tract, partly in verseBanned in the Roman Empire in the 330s+ for contradicting Trinitarianism. All of Arius writings were ordered burned and Arius exiled, and presumably assassinated for his writings.[163] Banned by the Catholic Church for the next thousand plus years.
Thoughts of a CorpsePrvoslav VujčićPoemsBanned in Yugoslavia by court order in 1983; republished in 2004.[2]
Tropic of Cancer (1934)Henry Miller1934Novel (fictionalized memoir)Banned in the US in the 1930s until the early 1960s, seized by US Customs for sexually explicit content and vulgarity. The rest of Miller's work was also banned by the US.[164] Also banned in South Africa until the late 1980s.
The True Furqan (1999)"Al Saffee" and "Al Mahdee"1999Religious textImport into India prohibited on the grounds of threatening national security.[165]
The Truth About MuhammadRobert Spencer2006Non-fictionOn December 20, 2006, the government of Pakistan announced a ban on Spencer's book, citing "objectionable material" as the cause.[166]
Uitgeverij Guggenheimer ("Publisher Guggenheimer") (1999)Herman Brusselmans1999NovelBanned in Belgium because this satirical novel offended fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester by making derogatory remarks about her personal looks and profession. A court decided the book was an insult to the individual's private life and ordered it to be removed from the stores.[167][168][169]
Ulysses (1922)James Joyce1922NovelBanned in the UK until 1936.[170][171] Challenged and temporarily banned in the U.S.A. for its sexual content. In 1933 the ban was overturned in United States v. One Book Called Ulysses.[172] Banned in Australia from 1929 to 1937, then restricted to people over the age of 18 from 1941 to 1953.[8]
Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)Harriet Beecher Stowe1852NovelBanned in the Confederate States during the Civil War because of its anti-slavery content. In 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin was banned in Russia under the reign of Nicholas I because of the idea of equality it presented, and for its "undermining religious ideals."[13]
Understanding Islam through Hadis (1982)Ram Swarup1982Critique of political IslamBanned in India for its critique of political Islam. The Hindi translation was banned in 1991, the English original was banned in 1992.[173][174][175][176][177][178]
United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense (1971)Robert McNamara and the United States Department of Defense1971Government studyAlso known as the Pentagon Papers. US President Nixon attempted to suspend publication of classified information. The restraint was lifted by the US Supreme Court in a 6–3 decision.[179] See also New York Times Co. v. United States.
Unarmed Victory (1963)Bertrand Russell1963Banned in India. Contains unflattering details of the 1962 Sino-Indian War.[111]
Various worksShen Congwen1902–1988Novels"Denounced by the Communists and Nationalists alike, Mr. Shen saw his writings banned in Taiwan, while mainland [China] publishing houses burned his books and destroyed printing plates for his novels. .... So successful was the effort to erase Mr. Shen's name from the modern literary record that few younger Chinese today recognize his name, much less the breadth of his work. Only since 1978 has the Chinese Government reissued selections of his writings, although in editions of only a few thousand copies....In China, his passing was unreported."[180]
Truth for Germany—The Question of Guilt for the Second World War Udo Walendy1968Historical work In 1979 this book was listed by Germany's Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons as material that could not be publicly advertised or given to young readers, due to the version it presented of the events that led to World War II. This restriction was lifted in 1994, after a long legal battle.
The Well of Loneliness (1928)Radclyffe Hall1928NovelBanned in the UK in 1928 for its lesbian theme; republished in 1949.[181]
White Niggers of America (1970)Pierre Vallières1970Political workDeals with Québec politics and society; written while the author was incarcerated. An edition published in France was not allowed into Canada; an edition was published in the US in 1971.[64]
Wild Swans (1993)Jung Chang1993Autobiography/BiographyBanned from publication in the People's Republic of China for its depiction of Mao Tse-tung.[3][182]
A World of StrangersNadine Gordimer1958NovelBanned in South Africa because of its criticism of Apartheid.[183]
The World Is Full of Married Men (1968)Jackie Collins1968NovelBanned in Australia in 1968.[8]
Year 501: The Conquest Continues (1993)Noam Chomsky1993PoliticsBanned for distribution in South Korean military as one of 23 books banned on August 1, 2008.[16]
You: An Introduction (2008)Michael Jensen2008Religious TextBanned by the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities from state schools May 6, 2015 on the basis of a "potential risk to students in the delivery of this material, if not taught sensitively and in an age appropriate manner."[152] The ban was lifted May 18, 2015.
Zhuan Falun (1993)Li Hongzhi1993SpiritualBanned in Mainland China simply because it is outside of the communist apparatus, according to Stephen Chan writing in Global Society, an international relations journal.[184]

See also


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  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Capon, Felicity (2014-10-20). "Top 20 books they tried to ban". Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  4. "Topics of the Times". The New York Times. May 5, 1931. p. 26. ISSN 0362-4331.
  5. 1 2 3 Grannis, Chandler B.; Haight, Anne (Lyon) (1978). Banned books, 387 B. C. to 1978 A. D. New York: R. R. Bowker. p. 80. ISBN 0-8352-1078-2.
  6. 1 2 Suroor, Hasan (March 3, 2012). "You can't read this book". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Banned Books in Australia: A Selection". University of Melbourne. Archived from the original on February 3, 2016.
  8. Also transliterated as Angaaray, Angarey, Angaarey, Angare, or Anghare. See "Angaarey". Sangat Review of South Asian Literature. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2017. and "Progressive Writers' Association". Making Britain. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
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  10. George Orwell, The Freedom of the Press
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  13. Clarke, Tracey (11 September 2013). "Another Country". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
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Further reading

  • Banned Books, 4 volumes, Facts on File Library of World Literature, 2006.
    • Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds ISBN 0-8160-6270-6
    • Literature Suppressed on Religious Grounds ISBN 0-8160-6269-2
    • Literature Suppressed on Sexual Grounds ISBN 0-8160-6272-2
    • Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds ISBN 0-8160-6271-4
  • Academic freedom in Indonesia, Human Rights Watch, 1998
  • Paying the price: freedom of expression in Turkey, Lois Whitman, Thomas Froncek, Helsinki Watch, 1989
  • Karolides, Nicholas J. (2006). Banned Books : Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds. New York, NY: Facts on File, Inc. ISBN 0-8160-6270-6. 
  • Darnton, Robert (1996). The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0393314421. 
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