These 2 Books Used to Be Banned: Here’s Why

    In the past, books were banned for a variety of reasons, some of which seemed absurd to many people. Books were often banned because they contained dangerous ideas or descriptions of activities or persons deemed unsuitable for public consumption. Censorship was used to protect the public from potentially controversial or subversive views and beliefs. Imagine being banned because it defies certain societal ideas—that’s exactly what they did to books.


    1984 by George Orwell

    George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 was initially banned in many countries upon its release in 1949, both due to its subversive content and to avoid association with the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union. 


    This novel was seen as a biting criticism of Stalinism and its oppressive reach over the people of the Soviet Union, and as such, it was banned in the USSR, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and other Eastern bloc countries at the time. In the West, governments were also concerned about its political implications; for instance, it was banned in the United Kingdom for a time in 1951, due to fears that it could be used to stir up anti-government emotions. 


    In the US, the novel was caricatured and virtually dismissed by those in power. The House Un-American Activities Committee of the time went even further, dismissing the novel and accusing it of encouraging the spread of Communism and being an attempt to discredit the American government. 


    Fortunately, the book was eventually restored and allowed in these countries, thanks to its obvious literary and intellectual value and the fact that, over the years, it has come to be recognized as one of the most important books of the 20th century. 


    Despite its initial banning, the novel has endured and is still read and studied today, illustrating the power of literature in challenging oppressive systems and speaking out against censorship.


    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller was a groundbreaking novel when it was published in 1961, but it was also controversial from the very beginning. The novel was highly critical of the military and its bureaucracy, and many felt that its satire did not respect authority and convention. As a result, school libraries and bookstores in several parts of the United States and Canada banned the book, considering it to be too explicit and controversial. It was also banned from some air force bases and other military facilities.


    The book’s irreverent take on the military made some uncomfortable, and managing public opinion was seen as important for military institutions. In some cases, librarians found the book to be too risqué, while others argued that it was a work of anti-war propaganda. In its criticism of war, the book lacked respect for the American way of life and was considered to be a threat to national security. As a result, it was banned in a number of places.


    Catch-22 eventually gained widespread critical acclaim and respect, and in 1969 it was recognized as an important literary work. In subsequent years, the book has been accepted into popular culture, and its message of questioning authority and subverting convention resonates with readers today. Despite the obstacles it faced in the past, Catch-22 has stood the test of time and is now considered to be a classic work of fiction.


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