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Generally when we say 'banned books' we are referring to books which have been banned from public or school libraries. The name may sound a little more dramatic than it is.
Very rarely has the U.S. government banned a book, though it has happened. "Johnny Got His Gun," by Dalton Trumbo, was banned during World War II.
Trumbo was also blacklisted in the 1950s. Congress's investigations into authors and screenwriters with ties to the communist party made it impossible for some authors to have their work published. Others went under pseudonyms.
Nowadays, books are often challenged by special interest groups that want a public library to take a book off the shelf for some reason, usually because something in the book conflicts with their own moral standards.
More insidious are very strident challengers who whip up public fear over certain books, wage campaigns to defeat library funding, and generally try to intimidate the librarian from making purchasing certain types of books in the future.
When the parish priest started spouting out about The Da Vinci Code (an appallingly bad book, but not for his reasons), I started wearing this button to services:
Fortunately, we have not yet quite reached the state of things seen in V for Vendetta.
Stephen King has done the same thing with his early book Rage.
I was looking for books that were banned by the government. Irwin Schiff (the 'pay no taxes' guy) claims that a judge ordered him to stop selling his book The Federal Mafia, but not only is it still listed at Amazon (showing that it is legal to sell) he also has it free on his website. Not having done my homework, it seems to me that this is some sort of grab at free publicity.
It also enable someone else to make quite a lot of money with Eye catcher although that doesn't appear to have made it onto LT.
It's hard for me to imagine customs agents taking the time to check book titles but if that is happening, I oppose it and want to know more.
The good news is that more independent journalists than ever are popping out of the woodwork. Under the user name Uphill I occasionally add more indy news links I find in a thread on the Links forum on the free website abovetopsecret dot com.
Since 3/11 I have devoted a lot of time to writing for publication about the Fukushima nuclear disaster, so I'm not in a position to sleuth out any more US government banned book examples for you, but why would the censors stop at 2 books?
Spynest revelations -- nope, nothing in the LT database either.
I will check with my Fukushima writers' groups to see if anyone remembers the exact name of the Hiroshima photos book(s). Later on that.
If LT has membership spanning the Middle Eastern countries or at least Germany and Denmark, which make a point of printing everything no matter whom it offends (bless their hearts), those folks may be able to give you the ISBN, if a book of that kind even has an ISBN. Hang in there.
(Amazon is not the sum total of all books that ever exist or have existed in the US; it's a list of books that one site currently has for sale. Now if you saw it listed on Amazon UK and not Amazon US, and attempts to have it shipped to the US failed, Amazon would mean something.)
But why, besides bureaucracy? Once a classified document is publicly available, stopping it from entering the US only stops poor and middle class Americans from having a copy; anyone who can afford a trip to Canada or Mexico can grab a copy, as well as anyone who lives outside the country, like the foreign nations who we're supposedly trying to hide these documents from.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Documents_seized_from_the_U.S._Embassy_in_Tehran has a number of these documents. The Iranians were the ones who published them, so everyone who cared about the Iranian documents had a copy, and the rest are Soviet biographies, which the Soviets naturally had already seen. Perhaps stopping them from entering the country relieves some of the pressure from the CIA about its mistakes, but that's not a good thing.
Edit: At first glance, https://archive.org/details/DocumentsFromTheU.s.EspionageDen looks to have the full thing.
For another example, there is or was a Russian publisher publishing documents about the early Russian nuke program, including classified American documents transfered by spies. Now that anyone with a credit card can order them direct from Moscow, what's the advantage to stopping them from entering the US?
"What Is Censorship?
Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it! ” Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone."
By this above ALA definition, when the US Customs Service stripped that Spynest book out of the hands of journalist Robert Fisk on his trip to the USA, that *is* censorship.
Title in English, 1989: The Town of corpses. Author is Ota Yoko, with Ota being the first name. Translated into English by Richard Minear. Originally published in 1945 in the Japanese language under the title Shikabane no machi. Novel totally censored in 1945 and later published in Japanese in 1948 with portions deleted.
For further documentation on this subject, I await my purchased copy of the following book by Monica Braw: The Atomic Bomb Suppressed. American Censorship in Japan 1945-1949. Publisher is University of Lund, Sweden.
Everyone, please suggest other ways of identifying still-censored materials on this subject. I am finding it difficult to prove what US censorship still continues ... I guess that is one of the purposes of continued censorship -- it's hard to prove a negative.
The most complete US archive on Hiroshima/Nagasaki I found so far is the following. That link contains mostly only their contact information, with no online catalog. They list events they are sponsoring, however, concerning the imminent 70th observance of the 1945 bombings: http://www.wilmington.edu/the-wilmington-difference/prc/
If the Amazon description is correct, Hiroshima: Three Witnesses contains Ota Yoko's book in English plus two others. I am not sure how complete the translation is.
August 5, 2015: My family and I will be attending a 70th observance ceremony today of the A-bombing of Hiroshima ... due to the time difference between Santa Monica, CA (Los Angeles county) and Hiroshima, Japan, the Santa Monica gathering will observe its silent meditation phase beginning at 4:15pm PDT on Wednesday August 5, 2015, which coincides with 8:15am Thursday August 6, 2015 in Hiroshima, Japan.
Swedish PhD student (and now journalist) Monica Braw, author of The atomic bomb suppressed (that edition is in the English language), discusses many examples of US censorship official policy decisions. Some of those policy measures covered only Japan, some only the US population, and some applied to both. Official censorship has a tendency to leave traces of its existence, some of which have created lasting negative effects in the United States.
US bureaucratic inertia may have influenced today's US policies on books arriving now in the United States related to that subject.
I went into my local library, wanting to know why there were four different magazines on collecting antiques, but nothing on Native American culture, and I brought in five different magazines varying in tone from popular public to very academic. The librarian sniffed, said, "I won't even bring them up for discussion!" and turned on her heals and left the room.
There is a mainstream "truth" that libraries follow to the "T", and much like medicine during Pasteur's time, evidence (say, about UFOs) is irrelevent.
They stick to the knowledge filter.
If you define censorship as the government throwing people in jail, then you have the famous case of Wilhelm Reich, who not only died in jail, but had his books burned. Do a search if you are (probably!) unfamiliar with him. And ignore what Wikipedia says.
But we are talking here about ALA censorship, which is alive and well!
For example, some readers even within the US don't remember any challenges to accessing the Harry Potter series. Others remember community book burnings and library bans that meant the only accessible copies were snuck in and hid. Not everyone could order copies online when they even knew online bookstores existed! What was closest to me were bookstore protests, which were disturbing but not as restrictive in my city as church leaders around bonfires.
Those are drastic differences in experiences with books believed to be easy to find.
The reason we watch censorship intently here is because when it happens, it's easy to overlook. People in one big city who believe they can access whatever books they want don't care what's happening in other parts of the country.
Bans are rarely about what's restricted by a well-published federal law. Local censorship is more common, and when repeated across the country, it impacts thousands to millions of people each time.