The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add firstname.lastname@example.org as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 30 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 23 Aug 2022
Censorship of one form or another has existed almost as long as the written word, while definitions of what is deemed “acceptable” in published works have shifted over the centuries, and from culture to culture.
Banned Books explores why some of the world’s most important literary classics and seminal non-fiction titles were once deemed too controversial for the public to read – whether for challenging racial or sexual norms, satirizing public figures, or simply being deemed unfit for young readers. From the banning of All Quiet on the Western Front and the repeated suppression of On the Origin of the Species, to 1984, Fahrenheit 45, Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Fin, this must-have volume examines the astonishing role that some banned books have played in changing history.
Packed with eye-opening insights into the history of the written word, and the political and social climate during the period of suppression or censorship, this is a must-read for anyone interested in literature; creative writing; politics; history or the law.
Delve into this compelling collection of the world’s most controversial books to discover:
- Covers a broad range of genres and subject areas in fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Spycatcher
- Offers informative insights into society, politics, law, and religious beliefs, in different countries around the world
- Features images of first editions and specially commissioned illustrations of the books’ authors
- Includes extracts from the banned books along with key quotations about them
- Completely global in scope
A must-have volume for avid readers and literary scholars alike, alongside those with an interest in the law, politics and censorship, Banned Books profiles a selection of the most infamous, intriguing and controversial books ever written, whilst offering a unique perspective on the history of the written word, with insights into the often surprising reasons books have been banned throughout history and across the world.
Whether as a gift or self-purchase, this brilliant book is a must-have addition to the library of curious thinkers, borrowers and lifelong learners. If you enjoy Banned Books, then why not try Great Loves - the first title in DK’s quirky new hardback series, full of insightful and intriguing topics.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 44 members
Banned Books takes a look at some of the most controversial books that have been banned throughout history. Using the examples in this book, the author shows that book banning and censorship in literature is not just something in current society but has been prevalent through the ages.
While this can be considered a sensitive topic itself, I found this book to be as unbiased as possible when explaining and defining the reasons for each of the books examined in this volume. Both the political and the religious climate are referenced at the time of each book's controversy. The book is written in a straightforward way, simple enough for any reader interested in the topic.
This is a very interesting book. It’s a great jumping off point for further study on the topic of banned literature. This would make a great addition to any library public or personal.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and DK!
Pros: I wanted to read this book because I love to purposefully read banned books. I think it’s one way nerdy bookworms can feel rebellious! I really liked the structure of this book—that it is arranged by time period of publication, that history/context is discussed, and that each book gets its own blurb. I was surprised (in a good way!) at how visual this book. I was also proud of how many banned books featured in this book that I’ve already read, and I love that I was able to add more books to my to-read list.
Cons: This isn’t a con but a note on formatting—because the book is so visual, I suggest reading a PDF version or reading it in print rather than reading it on Kindle.
Thank you to NetGalley and DK for the opportunity to read this book.
Banned Books: The World's Mos Controversial Books, Past and Present, from DK Publishing, is an excellent overview of well-known books that have been, and in some cases still are, banned or censored in some places.
Most readers will be familiar with all of these books even if you weren't aware of each one's history. Most, in fact, are frequently part of course study in literature. Each is given a short entry explaining very basically what the book is about and why it was banned (which is heavily dependent also on when and where).
Certainly there could have been more detail on each book, but for the purpose of this book the entries are just about right. Very much more detail and the book becomes unwieldy. Eighty seven books (the Harry Potter series counts as one here) with the details about each would quickly require either fewer books or an encyclopedia size book. Either option would defeat the purpose, which is to shed some light on the number of books that we know and love today that at one time was the target of narrow-minded authorities, whether secular or religious.
This is a nice-looking volume that can serve as a nice introduction when talking to young people about whether censorship is the better option to open debate, or what it says about those wanting to ban books that rather than confront the ideas they want to hide them away. Guess when you know your argument is not valid you seek to control others through other means.
I would recommend this for everyone from a curious teen to someone who just likes to have a handy reference on some of the more popular banned books from the past (and backwoods parts of the present).
Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
Banned Books was a good, interesting read. Enjoyed the insights and the information in the book. Interesting book!
Fascinating and generally even-handed, this is a good survey of the hypocrisy, harm, and ultimate fruitlessness of censorship. Good read.
Thank you to NetGalley and DK for my advanced copy in exchange for my unbiased review!
"Banned Books" by DK looks at some of the most controversial books that have been banned. DK delves deep into history in order to illustrate that book banning isn't something unique to our current period, but something that has persisted throughout our history. This is easily shown in how the book is organized which is by the book's time of publication. Honestly, as someone who loves reading and works at a library, I was incredibly interested in this one. One thing that I found kind of irritating is something that has to do with the formatting of my digital copy. About halfway through, I ended up just downloading the NetGalley Shelf app to my iPad so that I could actually look at and see all of the visuals used in this. If you decide to read this, get a print copy or read from a PDF.
All in all, I enjoyed this book but that formatting is not very accessible, at least digitally.
This short book overviews some of the most commonly banned books throughout history. This included some of the books whose bannings frequently make the news, but there were several on this list that I hadn't realized were controversial and several I'd never even heard of.
While I really enjoyed this, note that this book is more of a "coffee-table" style book that just provides brief 1-2 page summaries of each banned book.
I found this to be an excellent and digestible overview and added many of the books to my to read list. Recommended for anyone wanting to learn more about banned books.
A must read for every book lover. Gave me many new additions for my reading list. Fascinating read that inspires one to not only read, but question those who want to censor what books we have access to.
I loved it! It’s a quick read that is very informative. I’ve added some books to my wishlist. It’s interesting to see what offends some people as I’ve read some of the mentioned books, and didn’t find anything to bother me.
***Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***
I enjoyed reading this history of banned books and was introduced to some that I had never heard of.
Pub Date: August 23, 2022
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.
Banned Books explores why some of the world’s most important literary classics and seminal non-fiction titles were once deemed too controversial for the public to read – whether for challenging racial or sexual norms, satirizing public figures, or simply being deemed unfit for young readers. From the banning of All Quiet on the Western Front and the repeated suppression of On the Origin of the Species, to 1984, Fahrenheit 45, Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Fin, this must-have volume examines the astonishing role that some banned books have played in changing history. I found this book to be very interesting and have purchased one for our library.
Quick Summary: Very informative and outlined well; introductory level resource
My Review: My first impression of Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present by D.K. Publishing was one of curiosity. I was intrigued by the title, and I wondered what books would be presented. I also wondered how the featured works would be portrayed.
The publisher did a great job with outlining the book's content. I appreciated how each period was labeled. Additionally, I really liked how the societal attitudes, temporal nuances, and audience responses and/or receptiveness were noted.
The layout and soft illustrations were effective and did not detract from the informative content. They were appropriate and invited the reader to further engage with the material.
The one negative critique I have relates to the book's cover. I did not find it to be visually appealing. Although I understood the approach, I felt that it was too plain. It seemed to be out of sync with what was inside the book. I feel it may deter some readers.
My Final Say: As banned books have now, and it seems have always been considered to be a controversial topic, I believe that this book will be of interest to many. It is easy to follow and could, undoubtedly, be used as a classroom resource for upper middle to high school ages and up.
* I would love for this book to be the first in a series featuring banned books. It was a fantastic idea!
Audience: Upper Middle/High School to Adult
Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley, who provided a digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. The words I have expressed are my own and were not influenced by the aforementioned in any way.
Banned Books, as the title suggests, gives an overview of the history of book banning. Extending back centuries this novel chronicles the practice of book banning. It's well structured, organized temporally by novel and provides insight into a series of fascinating works.
Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present, from DK Publishing, is an excellent overview of well-known books that have been, and in some cases still are, banned or censored in some places.
I think a lot of readers will know the bulk of these books, but it is really cool to get a brief synopsis of each book, and why it was banned. I also really enjoyed the way that it was organized. We got our pre-1900's all the way to the 21st century.
This is a nice-looking volume and I feel like it would make a wonderful coffee table book. I can't wait to get a physical copy. It can also be a good resource for younger folks when talking about censorship.
It's very visual, and I loved all of the colors and photos that are littered throughout. so much fun. and it's made me driven to read some of the ones I haven't read yet!
I'm always amazed - although by now should not be - at the fear and loathing underpinning book banning.... This is a nice summary description of a number of the books that have faced challenges over the years. It's more of a reference book than a book to read straight through. The individual descriptions are short, sweet, and to the point and the writing style is easy to engage with and provides just enough information to either satisfy your curiosity or peak your interest to hunt down more.
Do you think that books should be banned? Who should decide? Or…should readers themselves decide what they want to read? These questions have recently come to the forefront once again.
This book is fascinating. A perusal of its contents shows that book banning has been going on for centuries. It also informs the reader that books once banned are not banned for evermore.
For example, the first section of the book includes The Canterbury Tales, a title that is now often studied in schools and universities. Other examples of previously banned books include Frankenstein, Madame Bovary, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and in the 21st century, The Kite Runner and The Hate U Give. These are just a few of the many books included in this title.
The book begins with a short introduction. The perspective offered is that censorship is generally counterproductive and often controversial. Following this section each title is described and its history and reasons for censorship given.
Browsing through this book will be interesting as readers look at books that they have either read or not picked up. In the end, I think that it invites its readers to think and care about this important issue.
Many thanks to NetGalley and DK for this title. All opinions are my own.
This book provides overviews of some of the frequently books found around the world, and explains why they were/are contested. Most books have one or two pages dedicated to them, with some nice illustrations and quotations throughout. It's more of a book to use as an introduction to the topic, rather than an in-depth look, but as a coffee table-style book to dip into and learn from, it's very interesting. I liked that it was arranged chronologically, moving through time as the books were published, up to our current time (as depressingly, we are still having to deal with book bans today).
I received an electronic ARC from DK through NetGalley.
This book compiles books from all over the world that have been banned. DK breaks down the list via time periods. It's interesting to see some of the books on the list, and more, the reasons they have been banned. The book takes a neutral tone and presents straightforward information on where each book was banned and why it was banned. Well worth the read to reflect on these for myself.
Very informative read. Things I really enjoyed included grouping books by time period, including a brief description of the book and why it was banned, and the occasional photo of the author or original book cover. I found the writing dry, and it didn't really hook me to keep reading. This was a book I put down a lot and then came back to because of my own curiosity about which books were included, not necessarily because the writing keeps me reading. Overall I learned a lot and enjoyed the book.
When I first looked at this book, seeing DK and illustrations inside, I assumed it would be a children's book, introducing the concept of banned books at an elementary school level.
Not only was I wrong, but I was also pleasantly surprised with the contents.
This books explores banned books from numerous countries in 6 distinct time periods. The books profiled are given a summary, an overview of the content that caused it to be banned - some including historical context as well -, along with when the respective bans were put into place and if they have since ended or continue to be challenged.
One of the things I most appreciated about this book was the inclusion of books from other countries. While I knew about quite a few of the banned books from the United States that were discussed, I knew of very few international banned books and enjoyed learning more.
This book presented the information in a non-biased and engaging way, for people to learn and understand more about the books profiled. For myself, I have been introduced to at least a handful of books I am now interested in reading.
'Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain because that's exactly what you need to know.' - Levar Burton
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you to DK and Netgalley for the advanced review copy.
Starting in the 15th century with The Decameron, this book proceeds chronologically trough the centuries, listing books that were written and then banned, briefly describing what they are about and what got the moral guardians upset, all the way up to books questioning the world in 2021.
Fiction, science texts, religious commentary, autobiographies, poetry and graphic novels - a wide variety of banned books are listed here with the common thread that, in one way or another, they dare to tell the truth, which makes those in power upset.
What a timely book! Loved learning about the reasons certain books were banned when almost everything seems to be at risk to be banned!
This was a great entry look at banned books across the world (mostly Europe and USA; with a few modern examples in Asia and South America). It expanded my TBR and knowledge of older controversial texts. But if you are looking for a more in-depth look or a deep dive I would find something else.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Sneed B. Collard III
Harold Earls, IV; Rachel Earls
Audrey Beth Stein
Scientific American Editors