Thoughts on Banned Books







Below the link to Perri Klass’s NYT op-ed on “Banned Books Your Child Should Read,” with its shrewd concluding advice to parents:

When your children read books that have been challenged or banned, you have a double opportunity as a parent; you can discuss the books themselves, and the information they provide, and you can also talk about why people might find them troubling.…/t…


This week I have been preparing a talk about Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, 1929, a book that was among the first to be banned by the Nazis.  The impulse to write about the novel came from an invitation to an academic conference on Remarque, and it was intensified by Donald Trump’s declaration that Remarque’s book was his favorite novel.  When had he read it? I wondered.  In high school, no doubt, as many in that generation had.  My interest in Remarque’s novel is now driven in part by the question of how it came to be enshrined as  required reading in US schools.  (I’m hoping to track sales figures for the last 80 years in this country.)  All Quiet on the Western Front was high on the list of books banned by the Nazis, and it was among the first to be thrown on the flames created by throwing a match on gas-soaked logs in Berlin on May 10, 1933.


For a list of the American Library Associations’s list of the top 100 banned/challenged books in the first decade of this century, click the link below:…


2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Banned Books

  1. I am a data storyteller (and big fan of your annotated books) – please let me know if if you’d like some help figuring out how to track and show those historic sales.

  2. Thanks for your message! I would love to have some help tracking sales. I had been planning to call the publishers–Little Brown and also get in touch with American Association of Publishers. My e-mail address can be found on the website for Folklore and Mythology at Harvard.

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