book books

List of banned books

Many societies have banned certain books. This is a partial list of books that have been banned.

Various scriptures have been banned (and sometimes burned) at several points in history. The Bible, the Qur'an, and other religious scriptures have all been subjected to censorship and have been banned in various cities and countries. In Medieval Europe, the Roman Catholic Church created a program that lasted until 1966 to deal with dissenting printed opinion; it was called the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (index of prohibited books). Over the years many books based on the scriptures have also been banned, such as Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You, which was banned in Russia for being anti-establishment.

Books deemed critical of the state or its interests are another common target for banning.

Books that deal with criminal matter have also been subjected to censorship. Small-press titles that have become infamous by being banned include The Anarchist Cookbook, and Hit Man.

In the four-volume series Banned Books, the volumes were divided by grounds for banning: political, religious, sexual and social. The first three are often cited together as taboo in polite conversation.

Notably, children's books that deal with death or other teenage angst or various crimes often find themselves banned perhaps because of parental worries about teenage suicide or copycat crimes. Many publications are targeted on the premise that children would be corrupted by reading them. This fear led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority in 1954.

List of banned books


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll Children's Novel/Adventure Banned in China (1931) for the portrayal of Anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level as humans.
All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque Anti-war novel Banned in Nazi Germany for demoralizing and insulting the Wehrmacht.
Andersonville MacKinlay Kantor Novel Banned in many places in the United States for obscenities and for promoting immorality.
Animal Farm George Orwell Political novella Publication delayed in UK because of anti-Stalin theme. Confiscated in Germany by Allied troops. Banned in 1946 in Yugoslavia. Also banned in Kenya in 1991 and in the United Arab Emirates in 2002.
Areopagitica John Milton Essay Banned in England for political reasons.
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner Novel Banned in Kentucky for language and for being anti-Christian.
Angaray Sajjad Zaheer Progressive short stories Banned in 1936 by the British government


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Black Beauty Anna Sewell Novel Was banned in South Africa in 1955 because of the use of the word 'black' in the title.
Burger's Daughter Nadine Gordimer Novel Banned in South Africa in 1979 for going against the government's racial policies.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger Novel Challenged and removed from several schools in the USA because the main character exhibits behavior deemed "inappropriate".
Call of the Wild Jack London Novel Banned in Yugoslavia, and Italy.
Candide Voltaire Novel Seized by US Customs in 1930 for obscenity.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown Novel Banned in Lebanon after Catholic leaders deemed it offensive to Christianity.
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys Chris Fuhrman Novel Banned in many schools in the United States because of sexual content, and strong language including racial slurs.
The Death of Lorca Ian Gibson Biography, True crime Banned briefly in Spain.
Decent Interval Frank Snepp Nonfiction Banned in the US because the author had published material that, as a former CIA employee, he was not allowed to publish.
Doctor Zhivago Boris Pasternak Novel Banned within the USSR until 1988 for its criticism of the Bolshevik Party.
Droll Stories Honore de Balzac Banned in Canada in 1914.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
El Señor Presidente Miguel Angel Asturias Novel Banned in Guatemala because it went against the ruling political leaders.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury Novel
The Federal Mafia Irwin Schiff Nonfiction An injunction was issued by a U.S. District Court in Nevada under 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.
The Freedom Writers Diary The Freedom Writers Nonfiction Banned for sexual content.
The Fugitive (Perburuan) Pramoedya Ananta Toer Novel Banned in Indonesia for being too communistic and for other political reasons.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy Novel Written in 1996, claimed to be portraying intereligion occasional sex scenes involving a Christian woman and low caste-Hindu servant. Ban overturned in India.
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck Novel Banned in many places in the US. In the region of California in which it was partially set, it was banned because it made the residents of this region look bad.
The Gulag Archipelago Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Nonfiction Banned in the Soviet Union because it went against the common way of thinking there.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason


Title Author Type of Literature Reason


Title Author Type of Literature Reason


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
The King Never Smiles Paul M. Handley Biography Banned in Thailand for its criticism of King Bhumibol Adulyadej


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Lady Chatterley's Lover D. H. Lawrence Novel Temporarily banned in the United States and UK for violation of obscenity laws. Temporarily banned in Australia.
Little Black Sambo Helen Bannerman Children's Book Banned in Japan (1988 - 2005) to quell "political threats to boycott Japanese cultural exports," although the pictures were not those of the original version.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler Political ideology Banned due to anti-Nazi laws. However, possession and sale for historical reasons is legal in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands .
Mirror of the Polish Crown Sebastian Miczyński Anti-Semitic pamphlet Because this pamphlet published in 1618 was one of the causes of the anti-Jewish riots in Cracow, it was banned by Sigismund III Vasa
The Mountain Wreath Petar II Petrović Njegoš Drama in verse Banned in Bosnia schools by Carlos Westendorp.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Naked Lunch William S. Burroughs Novel Banned by Boston courts in 1962 for obscenity, but that decision was reversed in 1966 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Notre ami le roi Gilles Perrault Biography of Hassan II of Morocco Banned 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.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Of Mice and Men. John Steinbeck Novel Due to vulgar language and use of the word "nigger"
On the Origins and Perpetual Use of the Legislative Powers of the Apostolic Kings of Hungary in Matters Ecclesiastical. Adam F. Kollár Legal-political Banned by the Vatican in 1514 for arguments against the political role of the Roman Catholic Church. Original title: De Originibus et Usu perpetuo.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
The Peaceful Pill Handbook Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart Instructional manual on euthanasia It was initially banned in New Zealand by Office of Film & Literature Classification since it was deemed to be objectionable. In May 2008 it was allowed for sale if sealed and an indication of the censorship classification was displayed. The book remains banned outright in Australia. A digital edition is available from


Title Author Type of Literature Reason


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Rights of Man Thomas Paine Political Banned in the UK and author charged with treason for supporting the French Revolution. Banned in Tzarist Russia after the Decembrist revolt.
Rangila Rasul Pt. Chamupati Religious Currently banned in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
The Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie Novel Banned in Bangladesh, India, Singapore, and Iran for blasphemy.
Soft Target: How Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada Zuhair Kashmeri & Brian McAndrew Investigative Journalism Banned in India.
Spycatcher Peter Wright Autobiography Banned in 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.


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Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Arius Songbook Banned 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. Banned by the Catholic Church for the next thousand plus years.
Tropic of Cancer Henry Miller Novel (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 United States. Also banned in South Africa until the late 1980s.
The Turner Diaries William Luther Pierce Novel Book stores and libraries refuse to distribute it because of its racist theme. Banned in Germany for its Nazi ideology theme and Pierce leadership in the American Nazi Party. Blamed for a number of crimes allegedly inspired by the novel.
The Butter Battle Book Dr. Seuss Children's Book Once removed from shelves of public libraries in the US due to the fact it was written during the Cold War era.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle Children's Book Removed from libraries in Herefordshire during a healthy eating campaign due to their interpretation of it promoting over-consumption and obesity.}}
And Tango Makes Three Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell Children's Book Banned from some schools and libraries for showing the true story two male penguins raising an egg together in a New York zoo. Suggests normalcy of homosexuality. {
Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Ulysses James Joyce Novel Challenged and temporarily banned in the US for its sexual content. Ban overturned in United States v. One Book Called Ulysses.
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe Novel Banned in the Southern States and Tzarist Russia. Challenged by the NAACP for allegedly racist portrayal of African Americans and the use of the word nigger.
United States-Vietnam Relations: 1945-1967 Robert McNamara and the United States Department of Defense Government Study President Nixon attempted to suspend publication of classified information. See: New York Times Co. v. United States


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
The Valley of the Dolls Jacqueline Susann Novel Banned


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith Economic treatise Banned in communist nations for its capitalist content.
The Well of Loneliness Radclyffe Hall Novel Banned in the UK in 1928 for its lesbian theme, republished in 1949.
Where's Waldo? Martin Handford Children's book Banned in the USA for a miniature picture of a topless lady tanning on the beach.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Year 501: The Conquest Continues Noam Chomsky Politics Banned in South Korea as one of 23 books banned from Aug 1st 2008.


Title Author Type of Literature Reason
Zhuan Falun Li Hongzhi Spiritual Banned as part of the persecution of Falun Gong, which began in 1999.

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