Censorship Law‎ > ‎

Books On Censorship

START WITH THIS ONE:

If you read one book on Free Speech, Censorship, and Libraries, it should be Robert S. Peck's Libraries, The First Amendment, and Cyberspace: What You Need to Know, published in 2000 by the American Library Association. Short and to the point, this book gives a solid grounding in the basics of Free Speech law as it applies to libraries. Written in plain English by a law professor with extensive experience in this specific area of law.


THEN READ THIS ONE:

 

First Amendment Law: In a Nutshell, 4th Ed., by J. A. Barron and C. T. Dienes, published by Thomson/West (2008). Although written by lawyers for lawyers, the compactness of this overview of First Amendment law makes it surprisingly readable.  Those who first read Peck's book, above, will get a lot out of this book.  The good news is that only the first 142 pages have to be read, since the remainder of the book discusses areas of First Amendment law that are not of direct interest to censorship in libraries. 

These two books will place the reader far, far ahead of most censorship proponents in terms of understanding the legal framework of censorship and Free Speech.


OTHER USEFUL BOOKS ON FREE SPEECH AND CENSORSHIP:


 
 
120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature, Revised ed., By N. J. Karolides, D. B. Sova, and M. Bald.  Infobase Publishing (2005).

The authors of the Literature Suppressed series (below) provide this accessible paperback version of their work, documenting challenges to a variety of literature.  An earlier version of the book went by the title 100 Banned Books.  
 

Banned in the USA: A Reference Guide to Book Censorship in Schools and Public Libraries, Revised ed.,  by Herbert N. Foerstel. IAP LLC (2006).    

Issues, procedures, and selected censorship histories with an emphasis on school and public libraries.  Highly Informative.
 
 
Censorship.  Edited by Julia Bauder, Greenhave Press(2007).
 
An interesting and lively collection of pro and con essays on various aspects of censorship.
 
Click here for a review on the Censorfreelib blog.
 
 
Intellectual Freedom.  By John B. Harer, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO (1992). 

A member of the library faculty at Texas A&M, Harer outlines the basic law around Intellectual Freedom and Censorship.  Of particular use are the brief summaries of major Supreme Court decisions, which explain the implications of the decisions in layperson's terms.
 
 
J. K. Rowling: Banned, Challenged, and Censored, by Joan vos MacDonald, Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers (2008).

A guide for junior and middle high school discussion of censorship, the volumes in this series explores the life, literary contributions, and attempted censorship against works by various authors.  This volume explores those aspects of  J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, describing challenges and responses to her book in libraries and classrooms.  Adults will also find this highly educational.
 
 
John Steinbeck: Banned, Challenged, and Censored, by Maurene J Hinds, Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers (2008).

A guide for junior and middle high school discussion of censorship, the volumes in this series explores the life, literary contributions, and attempted censorship against works by various authors.  This volume explores those aspects of John Steinbeck and his work, describing challenges and responses in libraries and classrooms.  Adults will also find this highly educational. 
 
 
Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds, Revised ed., by N. J. Karolides. Facts on File (2006). 

Provides summaries of many books challenged on political grounds, including a brief history of the censorship attempted against each. 

Part of a four-volume series, describing literature suppressed on political, religious, sexual, and social grounds.

 
 
Literature Suppressed on Religious Grounds, Revised ed., by Margaret Bald.  Facts on File (2006).  

Provides summaries of many books challenged on religious grounds, including a brief history of the censorship attempted against each. 

Part of a four-volume series, describing literature suppressed on political, religious, sexual, and social grounds.
 
 
Literature Suppressed on Sexual Grounds, Revised Ed.   By Dawn B Sova, Facts On File (2006).
 
Provides summaries of many books challenged on sexual grounds, including a brief history of the censorship attempted against each. 

Part of a four-volume series, describing literature suppressed on political, religious, sexual, and social grounds.
 
Click here for a review on the Censorfreelib blog.
 
 
Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds, Revised Ed.  By Dawn B. Sova, Facts on File (2006). 

Provides summaries of many books challenged on social grounds, including a brief history of the censorship attempted against each. 

Part of a four-volume series, describing literature suppressed on political, religious, sexual, and social grounds.
 
Click here for a review on the Censorfreelib blog.
 
 
Not In Front of the Children: Indecency, Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth.  By Marjorie Heins, New York: Hill and Wang (2001).  

Written by an attorney with special expertise in the area of Free Speech, this is an expansive discussion of the tensions between Free speech and protecting children. While explaining a great deal of applicable law, the main point of the book is to explore and challenge our assumptions about the nature of childhood and the value of childhood innocence.  The book challenges our assumptions about the fragility of children, and the values that help them become adults.

A review will appear soon on the Censorfreelib blog. 
 
 
Robert Cormier: Banned, Challenged and Censored, by W. H. Beckman, Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers (2008).

Written for junior and middle high school students, this useful teaching guide explores the life and writings of Robert Cormier, a brief history of censorship, and some of the specific challenges and responses to some of his award-wining novels, including his best known and most frequently challenged The Chocolate War.  

Click here for a review on the Censorfreelib blog.