Books, Top Stories

Banned Books Week: 10 Pop Fictions to Annoy the Politically Correct

Banned Books week is upon us again. Traditionally, this is a week during which liberals congratulate themselves for resisting concerned parents who wish to have controversial books pulled from school libraries and/or curricula. These tend to be books that support a liberal or progressive worldview. Last year’s list of the most banned books included Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (challenged by some parents because of sexually explicit material), Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (frank discussion of teenage suicide), Raina Telgemeier’s Drama (inclusion of LGBT characters), Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (sexual violence and promotion of Islam), Alex Gino’s George (inclusion of a transgender character), and so forth. Books that support a conservative worldview (Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Glenn Beck’s The Overton Window, William F. Buckley’s The Red Hunter, anything by Tom Clancy) are rarely pulled from school curricula because they rarely make it into the curricula in the first place.

My modest proposal for this year’s Banned Books Week is that we all spend a little time out in public reading books that are never likely to be included in your typical American high school’s curriculum. If you enjoy annoying the politically correct members of the illiberal Left (and what right-thinking American doesn’t?), these are the books you should carry with you on buses, trains, planes, and subways. These are the books you should read with great ostentation at sidewalk bistros, corner restaurants, and in doctors’ waiting rooms.

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TRAVELLER by Richard Adams: All over the American south and elsewhere statues of famous Confederate leaders are being pulled down, sometimes lawfully by public consent, and sometimes unlawfully by people practicing civil disobedience. We shouldn’t lionize Confederate soldiers. They were fighting to keep African-Americans in chains. But nor should they be erased from our history. Robert E. Lee was one of the most fascinating Americans who ever lived. He was both a patriot who worshipped George Washington, and a traitor who tried to tear his own country apart. Traveller is a novel narrated by Lee’s horse. Progressives are likely to be offended by the notion of Lee’s life story as the stuff of popular romance. And the thought of that story being related via the somewhat comic device of a Mr. Ed-style narrator is likely to be seen as insensitive to all the genuine suffering Lee and his ilk perpetuated. But Adams’s novel is not a blind paean to Lee. It’s actually a very sneaky anti-war statement, in the same vein as Stephen Crane’s poem “War is Kind.” Because he has a limited understanding of human language, when Traveller hears southerners whooping and cheering about “going to war,” he believes that War is a place, a destination somewhere up North where everything will be wonderful and glorious. When he finds himself surrounded by humans who are killing each other in large numbers, he asks a veteran warhorse why they would do such a thing. The response: “You might’s well ask me why the sun goes acrost the sky. It’s what they do, like flies bite. They always have and they always will.”

STATE OF FEAR by Michael Crichton: Climate science has not been especially kind to this techno-thriller, which waves away the notion that humans might be responsible for global warming. Nine of the ten hottest years on record have occurred since this book was published in 2004. Crichton didn’t live to see most of those years. He died in 2008 of lymphoma. Though he was a doctor/scientist, Crichton frequently ignored the scientific consensus, which may account for the fact that he maintained a smoking habit of several packs of cigarettes a day for most of his adult life. But good solid science has never been the best reason for reading a Crichton novel. As Stephen King put it: “A Crichton book was a headlong experience driven by a man who was both a natural storyteller and fiendishly clever when it came to verisimilitude; he made you believe that cloning dinosaurs wasn’t just over the horizon but possible tomorrow. Maybe today.” So go ahead and enjoy this exciting thriller. Just don’t quote from it when debating climate change with your liberal Prius-driving neighbor.

THE EDUCATION OF LITTLE TREE by Forrest Carter: For years this book was quite popular among school librarians. It tells the story of a boy who is orphaned at five and goes to live with his Cherokee grandparents, who instill in him a love of the land and of his Native American ancestors and their ways. Originally published in 1976 as a memoir, the book was reclassified as fiction in 1991 because of evidence produced by scholars that Carter had made up most of the story. Oprah Winfrey once recommended the book on her website. She pulled the recommendation when it was revealed that Forrest Carter was actually Asa Earl Carter, a notorious racist and one-time leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Carter’s racism can’t be excused as George Washington’s and Thomas Jefferson’s racism often is by saying, “His racial attitudes were typical of the time.” Even for his time (1925-1979) Carter’s racism was horrifying. He was once a speechwriter for Alabama’s white-supremacist Governor George Wallace. But even Wallace, amazingly, found him too much and got rid of him. It should be noted that Carter’s nastiness wasn’t just directed at African-Americans. He once shot two of his fellow Klansmen in a dispute over money. All of which makes it even more amazing that he produced such a beautifully written novel that is a hymn to the idea that mankind should live in harmony with the natural world and the spirit world. It also contains many beautiful observations on language itself. Consider the scene in which a peddler named Mr. Wine explains to Little Tree the difference between ‘stingy’ and ‘thrifty’:

[Mr. Wine said i]f you was stingy, you was as bad as some big shots which worshipped money and you would not use your money for what you had ought. He said if you was that way then money was your god, and no good would come of the whole thing.

He said if you was thrifty, you used your money for what you had ought but you was not loose with it. Mr. Wine said that one habit led to another habit, and if they was bad habits, it would give you a bad character. If you was loose with your money, then you would get loose with your time, loose with your thinking and practical everything else. If a whole people got loose, then politicians seen they could get control. They would take over loose people and before long you had a dictator. Mr. Wine said no thrifty people was ever taken over by a dictator. Which is right.

To his dying day, Paul Robeson never denounced his devotion to Stalinism, but that is no reason for us to stop listening to his records. Stalinist or not, he was a great singer. Likewise, Carter’s racism is no reason for us to eschew his fiction. And it reached its pinnacle in The Education of Little Tree. The progressive sitting next to you on the long flight to Chicago may furrow his brow, but go ahead and read this book. It is proof that even in the most benighted of souls a little light sometimes penetrates.

HANTA YO by Ruth Beebe Hill: According to Michael Korda’s Making The List: A Cultural History of the American Bestseller, 1900-1999, Hanta Yo was the 15th bestselling novel of 1979. It was generally well-received by critics. A reviewer for the Harvard Crimson called it “the best researched novel yet written about an American Indian tribe.” The positive reception didn’t last long. Shortly after the book’s publication, Sioux activists took umbrage at its portrayal of Plains Indian life and, according to an article in People magazine, “tried to force the work out of bookstores and libraries.” Ironically, one of the protestors’ objections back in 1979 was that the book portrayed homosexuality as if it were a natural part of Indian life. Nowadays that might be a selling point for the politically-correct. The author spent nearly 30 years researching this 1100-page tome. She interviewed more than 700 Native Americans during the course of her research, one of whom, Chunksa Yuha, lived with her and her husband and acted as her technical advisor for 15 years. The back of the book contains an extensive glossary of Lakota Sioux words, and a separate compendium of the tribe’s idiomatic phrases. The book has been out of print for years, but it deserves a rediscovery. If you really want to annoy your politically-correct seat-mate, mention that Ruth Beebe Hill was an active member of both the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Ayn Rand Institute.

THE CONFESSIONS OF NAT TURNER by William Styron: The author was a lifelong leftist and a close friend of James Baldwin. His book was a phenomenal success, winning a Pulitzer Prize for fiction and placing second on the list of the bestselling novels of 1967. So why should it enrage your politically-correct seat-mate? After its initial success, the book began drawing heavy criticism from African-American scholars and critics. Some didn’t like Styron’s portrait of Turner as a bumbling would-be revolutionary. Some didn’t like what they saw as a too-sympathetic portrait of wealthy southern plantation owners. Some didn’t like his treatment of inter-racial sexual attraction. These objections led to an anthology, William Styron’s Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond, which was generally negative in tone. The book has survived the controversy. It has remained perpetually in print and is even included on some collegiate reading lists. Still, hyper-correct members of the illiberal Left, most of whom probably haven’t read the book, tend to turn up their noses at Styron’s act of ‘cultural appropriation.’

Anything by Elia Kazan: If The Confessions of Nat Turner finished in second place on the fiction bestseller list of 1967, what masterpiece of American literature finished in first place? Believe it or not, it was The Arrangement, a novel by film director Elia Kazan. Is it any good? In a word, no. But Kazan’s name on the cover of a book should be enough to annoy any right-thinking progressive, because Kazan appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952 and named names. Kazan wrote five novels, none of them distinguished, but a couple of them are at least fun to read in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. My personal favorite is The Assassins, in which Kazan’s hero, Master Sergeant Cesario Flores, murders a man in cold blood because the man is—wait for it—a hippie! James Baldwin provided a blurb for the paperback, and it’s a masterpiece of noncommittal-ness: “The tone of the book is extremely striking, for it really does not seem to depend on anything that we think of as a literary tradition, but on something older than that: the tale being told by a member of the tribe.”

THE SATANIC VERSES by Salman Rushdie: When The Satanic Verses was first published in 1989, most liberals considered it something like a duty to rush out and buy a copy. For writing the book, the author was rewarded with a death sentence by Ayatollah Khomeini. In those long-ago days, progressive thinkers objected to any kind of book-banning. Thus, the book became the sixth bestselling novel in America for the year 1989. But things have changed. Since September 11, 2001, the Left has become extremely deferential to all things Islamic. President Obama was criticized by right-wing commentators for refusing to even utter words such as “Islamo-fascism” or “Islamic terrorism.” Left-wing newspapers, meanwhile, go out of their way to avoid triggering an Islamic backlash by refusing to publish depictions of the Prophet Mohammad in their pages (this is understandable, considering the disastrous consequences the publishers of Charlie Hebdo suffered for violating this policy). Nowadays if you’re caught reading The Satanic Verses you’re more likely to be construed as an enemy of Islam rather than as a defender of free speech. But who cares what the politically correct think?

THE FAR PAVILIONS by M.M. Kaye: Rushdie wouldn’t like to see his book cheek-by-jowl with this one. In his essay “Outside the Whale,” he had this to say about the TV adaptation of Kaye’s novel: “Now of course The Far Pavilions is the purest bilge. The great processing machines of TV soap-opera have taken the somewhat more fibrous garbage of the M.M. Kaye book and pureed it into easy-swallowing, no-chewing-necessary drivel.” Rushdie considers Kaye’s writings about India to be part of a long line of “fake portraits inflicted by the West on the East.” But M.M. Kaye was born in India and spent the first ten years of her life there. She spoke Hindustani before she spoke English. She was sent to England for some formal schooling, but she later returned to India to get married and raise a family. Though she spent the last several decades of her life in England, her last will and testament instructed her heirs to scatter her ashes upon Lake Pichola in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

Like many of the daughters of British colonial officers, Kaye was a woman torn between two cultures and not fully accepted by either of them. If her India was more romantic and melodramatic than Rushdie’s, it was nonetheless born of a genuine love for the land of her birth. The romanticism of her novels was a deliberate attempt to offset the wholly negative view of the British Raj that was presented in most serious novels of the era. In her memoir The Sun in the Morning she wrote: “Too many people have already written, or are engaged in writing, ‘committed,’ politically slanted or fashionable books for me to try adding to their number. Yes, there was poverty, squalor and starvation; drought and famine; epidemics and corruption…But if I do not choose to write much about such things it is because I know I can safely leave that to the legions who can—and are only to eager to do so.” She held E.M. Forster’s A Passage To India in particular contempt, a book she considered “an anti-British fairy-tale.” In her memoir she asked rhetorically if any of these anti-Raj writers ever do any research on the Raj:

…or are they so anxious to blacken its name that they invent these tales deliberately, as E.M. Forster invented some of the preposterous statements he made in that virulent attack on his own race, A Passage to India, a book that seems to be regarded as Holy Writ by the trendy who have swallowed every word of it and for some reason like to think the very worst about the British in India. Forster has been equally slanderous and nasty about Indians. Nastier, in fact—though none of his admirers has chosen to notice that. Or perhaps they think the Indians are not quick enough on the uptake to know when they are being insulted.

With her great imagination, M.M. Kaye would likely have been a successful novelist no matter where she was born. To fault her for writing about India, is to fault her for having been born there. If you love a great big fat romantic adventure novel, ignore the cultural snobs and dive into The Far Pavilions, the fourth bestselling novel of 1978, according to Michael Korda. (Korda’s own novel, Queenie, about the rise of an impoverished girl from India to Hollywood stardom is itself an insanely entertaining act of cultural appropriation.)

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell: You knew this was coming. The bestselling novel of both 1936 and 1937, Gone With The Wind remains one of the most popular American novels of all time. Had it been written by a man, it might be ranked alongside From Here To Eternity and The Red Badge of Courage as one of the greatest of all American war novels. Having been written by a woman, it has generally been categorized as a romance novel. And nowadays it’s likely to be categorized as a racist romance novel. It’s true that Mitchell wasn’t much interested in portraying the evils of slavery. Hers is a rather romantic version of the antebellum (and bellum) South. You shouldn’t read this book (or any other) uncritically. But you should read it. It’s beautifully written and fiendishly plotted. Nobody faults James Jones for the fact that his novels don’t fully explore the racism of the segregated U.S. Army during World War II. For the most part, he tells his stories through the eyes of working-class white men, who probably weren’t bothered much by racism. Likewise, Gone With the Wind is told through the eyes of Scarlett O’Hara, a daughter of the Southern aristocracy. It makes sense that she doesn’t care to dwell on slavery. Had Gone With the Wind been written by a man, the quest for the Great American Novel might have been settled in 1936. Instead, Mitchell’s work has been generally denigrated as The Great American Pop Fiction. Literary snobs might object to its melodrama and accessibility. Illiberal leftists might justifiably object to its white-washing of the horrors of slavery. But go ahead and read it anyway. Few American novels have ever been as absorbing as this one.

THE GOOD EARTH by Pearl S. Buck: In a review she posted at, the author Celeste Ng wrote: “It’s difficult for me to explain how much I hate this book.” And then she goes on to mention, among other things, “the weirdness that arises from a Westerner writing about a colonized country.” Ms. Ng was born in Pittsburgh, PA, grew up in Shaker Heights, OH, and attended nothing but exclusive American schools, including Harvard University. Ms. Buck, on the other hand, was taken to China by her American missionary parents when she was five months old. She was raised largely by a Chinese nanny, spoke Chinese before she spoke English, and spent most of the first 40 years of her life in China. If a 40-year-old Vietnamese-born writer who came to America at five months and spoke English as her first language were to publish a novel about white Americans, would she be castigated for being an Easterner writing about the West? I can’t imagine it. Don’t listen to the haters. Buck was no cultural appropriator (whatever that might be). She knew China as well as anyone who has ever written about it. Buck was born into a country (the U.S.A.) where women had few rights, and she was raised in another country (China) where women had few rights. When she reached adulthood, she still wouldn’t have been allowed to vote in the U.S. and would have had trouble pursuing any kind of credentialed profession. Instead, she turned her considerable intellect and imagination to one of the few creative avenues open to gifted women of the era, the production of literary works. To punish her now for having written about pretty much the only subject matter she was an expert on, Chinese life, is to retroactively deny her even more rights. Read her books, and do so without apology.

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Your assignment for this year’s Banned Books Week is to read a novel that, although it may not be banned in your local high school, probably isn’t promoted there either. Liberals claim to be the great champions of problematic literature. Test their tolerance by going out in public this month and reading a book that’s sure to annoy them.


Kevin Mims is a freelance writer living in Sacramento, CA. His work has appeared in numerous venues including the New York Times, National Public Radio’s Morning EditionSalon, and many others. He has just opened a Twitter account @KevinMims16


  1. yandoodan says

    Crichton’s State of Fear falls apart as soon as he introduces the Heinleinesque Wise Man who educates us on the errors of global warming theory. Its suspense parts, however, ain’t half bad. Murderous environmentalists use strange animals to kill those unlucky enough to get in their way; cannibals eat an Alec Baldwin lookalike alive, starting with the delicious cheek meat. Gross but funny.

  2. I do enjoy to annoying the shrill and virtuous at both ends of the increasingly tiresome political spectrum. J.G.Ballards ‘Rushing to Paradise’ is another book I love to bring up with my pipeline protesting, Prius driving, anti everything friends and acquaintances.

    • D. Kastin says

      I found that book (and I love much of Ballad’s work) awful. Basically unreadable. I couldn’t believe the same na who wrote Highrise and The Day of Creation wrote that trash.

    • You do realize there’s more to the world of literature than what Dr. Peterson tells you to do? It’s just a list of novels with a tongue-in-cheek commentary on how they’ll be “annoying”. In all likelihood nobody will even notice you reading it, but who cares? Reading is it’s own reward. And some of those books are classics. If you don’t like the list that’s fine. But I don’t get why you’d be so triggered by it.

      • @ PvL

        “But I don’t get why you’d be so triggered by it.”

        The article is obviously dumb. I am not sure why you cannot see that. All I did was said it is so. Not sure why you would take it so extremely…

    • This is a pretty narrow list. I think I’ll pass. Too busy enjoying Edith Wharton, P.D. James and Arthur Schnitzler

      • Also anyone who doesn’t include Dickens (‘A Tale of Two Cities’ is the best portrayal of the SJW mentality you’re ever going to get, for one) should be pretty much ignored 😛

        • @V 2.0 About AToTC – I couldn’t agree more. It was one of my prescribed books in high school English and it certainly is a good introduction to the horrors of mob justice.

      • @ V 2.0

        “Edith Wharton, P.D. James and Arthur Schnitzler”

        Good Grief! I’ll leave you to the almighty to show you the right way…

    • Nathan says

      I expected to see Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon at Peterson’s site. Great novel! Right around the time of the Moscow trials.

  3. Who is such a try-hard contrarian that he reads long books only to troll the “politically correct”?

    • Irritating liberal bystanders in this way (and most Americans are liberals, culturally at least) is only the frosting on the cake.

  4. Unfortunatly, the big assumption is that your target audience actually notices you reading a book and reads enough books recognize a specific title enough to even know to be outraged.

    I suspect the targets you’d passively agressessivly be trolling would more likely to recogize a podcast or youtube channel they dont like.

    Expect little unless you want to read good books for your own enjoyment.

  5. puddleg58 says

    If the Kazan seems too much for you, read Budd Schulberg’s books – he was Kazan’s best scriptwriter and also named names.
    Run Sammy Run is a brilliant deep dive into 1930’s-40’s Hollywood and its politics – darker, if that’s possible, than The Day of the Locust and much more informative and entertaining than any of the Coen brothers film set in that era. The Disenchanted is drawn from – exploits, in fact – Schulberg’s passing friendship with Scott Fitzgerald and is one of the best books on Fitzgerald even if it is self-serving. And the short story A Face in the Crowd, which Kazan turned into a film starring Andy Griffiths,can be seen as predictive of the current presidency.

  6. The title you’re referring to is, ‘What Makes Sammy Run?’
    by Budd Schulberg

  7. Farris says

    You’re 25 years too late. Lonesome Rhodes (the Andy Griffith character in “A Face in the Crowd”) was often compared to Bill Clinton in the ‘90’s Great movie though.

  8. I can’t help but view this article with bemusement. I’m fine with you recommending books that may be worth reading. But the idea that anyone will notice what you are reading, even in a public place, seems far fetched to me. People really aren’t that interested in total strangers.

    • Daniel says

      I took that aspect of the article to be tongue-in-cheek. The books are described as having value in and of themselves, but as an added bonus they are anti-SJW. Unlikely anybody would notice, true, but there’s a small sense of rebellion in the reading of them. 😉

  9. I read for my own pleasure. I don’t read to impress or annoy anyone.

  10. Commenters here are forgetting that a title, a headline, can be an attention-grabber, a tongue-in-cheek method to persuade one to read the article. Article is not making a case that we should annoy people but that these are good books to read.

    • I know, right? The ‘own the libs’ motif is just a tongue-in-cheek framing device for a list of great books that, while not banned, are at least likely to meet objection (and a self-aware one at that). People are getting really annoyed by a little light humour.

  11. Tom Billesley says

    Add to the list any dictionary. They can be so defining.
    A billboard poster bearing the Google definition of the word “woman” has been removed after it was accused of being part of a transphobic campaign.

  12. I have a book on my shelf titled “Banned Books”. It lists books which have been banned (doh); they range from Lady Chat’s Lover, Peyton Place, Forever Amber (salacious material) to every edition of the Bible, the Koran, Mein Kampf (crime-think) to, of all things, Alice in Wonderland (banned in China because rendering animals with human characteristics is a ‘bad thing’). Even comedy stuff like the Karma Sutra has been banned. I read them all when I was a youngster precisely because they were banned. So to encourage today’s youngsters to read more, I suggest we ban everything. ( and supply brown paper covers to avoid embarrassment .)

  13. Pingback: Banned Books Week: 10 Pop Fictions to Annoy the Politically Correct | Sassy Wire

  14. The Little Red School Book was a banned book in QLD in 1972 .I found this out when my copy was taken from me by a teacher and when i snatched it back i was sent to the principle’s office.Before the inquisition started i asked why was a book that explained to children the UN treaty that australia had signed be banned i never got an answer or my book back ,i was ten…So i am asking now why was it banned

  15. Rupert Stubbs says

    Rushdie’s Satanic Verses really isn’t a great book, IMH). Very obvious signposting and self-conscious stuff, not a patch on the magic realism of South America…

    • I actually thought it was superb and easily his best work. Surreal but tightly written.

  16. I thought Rushdie was a bore. Try ‘The Triumph of Stollie Prendergast.’ No PC in it at all.

  17. First thing: put away your Kindle.

    Nobody knows what you are reading if it’s electronic.

    Then get yourself a copy of Ass Goblins of Auschwitz

  18. MarWes says

    This is to assume that your politically correct seat sharer is well read which is usually not true. Still, I recommend Raspail’s “The Camp of the Saints” and Houllebecq’s “Submission.”

  19. Not sure what you mean by the “patriot but a traitor” bit on Robert E Lee.

    Lee was a secessionist traitor fighting for the rights of slave-owners to form their own parliament.

    Exactly like George Washington.

    • Daniel says

      It’s hard to correctly articulate the motivation of any complex individual. “Patriot but traitor” seems to be taking a stab at what motivated Lee, but also where his actions led him.
      I’m curious what your own thoughts are, but the enigma of Lee has captivated people for years. I think it’s because he was so clearly on the wrong side, fighting for the wrong thing, and yet was motivated by a strong sense of integrity, and by all accounts was scrupulously proper and honest in everything he set his hand to. Not sure how to square that particular paradox. Almost like a Don Quixote figure, I suppose.
      What do you think?

  20. Joseph says

    Although the politically correct crowd wouldn’t recognize it today, James Gould Cozzens’ “By Love Possessed,” the bestselling novel of 1957, was castigated by the left at the time for its conservative outlook; despite the Harlequin-esque title, “By Love Possessed” is actually a meditative-if-ornate observation of 49 hours in the life of an aging upper-middle-class lawyer who is befuddled by the emotionalism of those around him. This and Cozzens’ other novels (“The Just and the Unjust” [1942] and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Guard of Honor” [1948]) were major influences on bestselling legal thriller writer Scott Turow.

  21. I was pleased to find The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye here. And I just wanted to say that her mother – my great aunt – was not of upper-middle-class colonial officer stock like her dad, but was one of the many children of a large and by no means rich or socially upmarket family of Scottish missionaries and doctors in North China. They were mostly liberal and progressive – later even Labour in politics, and anti-imperialist in attitudes. It is a pity that the current fashion for simple-minded agit-prop approaches to history makes it completely impossible for anyone today to understand the complex background, situation and achievements of people of this kind.

    • Daniel says

      Fascinating. You are related to MM Kaye? I loved The Far Pavilions. Good heavens, what a talent that woman was.

  22. estepheavfm says

    Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon. — It was a bestselling and hugely influential prelude to Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag.

  23. So SJW = anyone whose opinion I don’t like? Got it. Man y’all are un-Christian. Peace.

  24. I bought the Satanic Verses on Sept 12th, 2001. Even though I think Rushdie a tad flowery for my taste, I felt then that the Muslims needed to be reminded than in the West we have freedom of belief AND freedom of disbelief. This entails the freedom to criticize, mock and deride the tenets of their religion as well as Christianity or Judaism or any other faith/delusion… This is what makes Western Civilization great. Free speech and the contest of ideas without undue censorship and repression. The fact that a film like The Life of Brian can be made in the West and the Muslim equivalent triggers terrorism and violence even if it gets to the point of a single storyboard (i.e. a cartoon).

    I would second the comment recommending Michel Houllebecq’s Submission, a book likely to trigger objections from those whose vocabulary includes words like “Islamophobia” …

  25. Eclipse Chewer says

    The CSA was not “fighting to keep African-Americans in chains” any more than Washington, Jefferson, and Adams were “fighting to keep African-Americans in chains” when they seceded from Britain, which had abolished domestic slavery in 1772. They were fighting the second American Revolution for their independence.

    Lincoln was indifferent to slavery and stated many times that he would preserve the Union by freeing all the slaves, none of the slaves, or one of the slaves. He offered several times to permit the seceding states to return to the Union while retaining their slaves. No one other than abolitionists–a radical, tiny sect equivalent to today’s animal-liberation activists in terms of their repute and political power–cared much about freeing the slaves, as slavery was an institution dating to the dawn of civilization.

    Even with the secession of the Confederate States, slavery remained in the Union in the border states–Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware–until it was abolished by their state constitutions. In fact, if you believe that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation legally freed the slaves in “rebel” states (which he explicitly states–the EP did not apply to states loyal to the Union), the only legally held slaves in the United States were to be found in the Union for the final two years of the war.


    If you can understand why today no serious person would fight a ruinous war of invasion over CAFOs, abattoirs, or even abortion, you can understand why no one would have risked life and limb over slavery at the time. It was a sectional rivalry of two distinct nations descended from the same distinct populations that had fought the English Civil War two hundred years before. The scions of the Cavaliers didn’t much care for the Yankee Puritans and vice cersa. Americans then fought for the same reason “Americans” will fight today: no one wants to be trapped in a political system in which their interests, values, and institutions are regularly diminished and ridiculed.

    The British didn’t attempt to put down the American Revolution because they hated slavery, but because they valued power and empire. The Union didn’t put down the Second American Revolution because they hated slavery, but because Lincoln and his fellow empire builders valued power and Manifest Destiny.

    The past is a foreign country; don’t go there looking for simplistic narratives.

    • Daniel says

      Eclipse Chewer,
      An interesting comment there; thanks for sharing it. I especially like your last statement — so true. I buy your statement that people were much more ambivalent towards slavery in Lincoln’s day, but I’m not convinced that animal rights or abortion today is a fair equivalent.
      I saw the film Lincoln recently, with the drama of passing the 13th amendment. If so many people were ambivalent towards slavery even in the North, why did it get passed? Was the 13th amendment a placeholder for a separate political agenda?

  26. The bit in The Good Earth where I checked out was when the peasant woman gives birth alone, strangles the female infant and trudges back to the field. I just cannot believe in a culture that does not have some traditions of women gathering around other women at the time of birth – Buck does not even suggest that this woman’s situation was the least unusual. I also have given birth 4 times, once to twins that did not make it. In the aftermath of labour and delivery, I cannot conceive of getting right up and weeding rice. I thought Buck was saying that Chinese women are not physiologically like me, and that I refuse to believe.

    • Stubbs says

      As a child, I too read the Buck book. I too thought that returning to the field like that was amazing, but not unbelievable. My younger sister cared for my baby sister at the end of the cotton row, on a cotton sheet where the cotton was emptied out from pickers’ bags while my mother picked. And surely you have heard that female babies, during the more recent one-child policy in China, were sometimes killed at birth.

  27. This is just Quilette on 11. Here are a bunch of books that haven’t been banned but all you pseudo-intellectual fascists have to read them to “trigger the libs”. Listen man, I don’t care what crappy lit you read. I mean, these books are probably a step up the books that y’all usually read.Stuff like The Turner Diaries. So go for it. Go to your local bigoted bakery or homophobic chicken sandwhich place. Read one of these dumb books and feel all good about yourself for reading racist, offensive stuff. Y’all can engage in your “lack of virtue” signaling! Reactionaries gonna react.

    • Daniel says

      Good point. You don’t have time to waste with nonsense like this.

  28. Pingback: News of the Week (September 30th, 2018) | The Political Hat

  29. Optional says

    The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ by Joseph Conrad is both entertaining and well written.
    Of course, the word in the title is now a banned word. But that really shouldn’t stop you.

  30. Optional says

    Also, anything by Rudyard Kipling is not PC (because of his politics). But the Just So Stories are awesome, and is “the man who would be king”.

  31. Fringe says

    I highly recommend the Flashman Chronicles if you really want to get into a non-PC, highly entertaining, very funny and historically enlightening set of novels.

  32. Vocks Deigh says

    There’s a difference between books so good they’re banned, and this list, which belongs at the bottom of a bird cage.

  33. Nathan says

    Thanks for the clever, funny, and needed diversion. More humor, please! Stateside we are all taking ourselves too seriously, way too seriously, dangerously seriously. We need some comic perspective.

  34. Not fiction, but all of Alexander Dugin’s books have been banned from Amazon.

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