1952 August 27

U.S. Attorney in Cleveland Asks Court’s Okay to Burn Two Books

 

The U.S. Attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, said on this day that he would seek court approval to burn two French novels, which he regarded as “too obscene” for public consumption. The two novels, imported from London, were The Black Mistress and Where They Breed. The latter, rather ironically — given the notorious Nazi practice of book burning — involved a story about life under Hitler in Germany during World War II.

There were a number of shocking incidents where U.S. officials burned books in the post-World War II years, with full knowledge of the example of Nazi Germany. On March 31, 1950 the federal government seized and burned 3,000 copies of Scientific American because it alleged published the “secret” of the atomic bomb. Officials in Newark, New Jersey, burned allegedly “lewd” books and magazines on March 7, 1953.  U. S. officials on August 23, 1956 seized and burned all the materials of the controversial psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, including all of his scientific papers. And on November 10, 1973, school officials in North Dakota burned copies of Kurt Vonnegut’s acclaimed novel Slaughterhouse Five.

Learn more: Haig A Bosmajian, Burning Books (2006)

Go to the Banned Book Week web site: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

Banned Book Week; authors speak out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKE7k5Qjobw

Learn more about censorship in America: Marjorie Heins, Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy: A Guide to America’s Censorship Wars (1993)

Learn more about Nazi book burning: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005852

Learn about book burning in history: http://mentalfloss.com/article/50038/11-book-burning-stories-will-break-your-heart

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