Over the years, many books have been banned owing to their controversial content. Even though these books turned out to be quite influential in history, they ended up being banned, burnt and what not what not upon hitting the stands. Here are 5 such books that have been considered as the most controversial books ever in world history.
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Published in 1933, Brave New World centered on the current core theme of the world at that period; industrialization. The book went on to reveal about how the theme will end up creating a loss of identity while dividing the society to create devastating after effects. The book contained a lot of themes on negativity and also explicitly talked about controversial themes like child birth, drug abuse, sexuality and suicide. Upon publication, the book was banned in Ireland as well as several states in U.S.A.
The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
Released in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye is considered as one of the best 100 English language novels ever published. However, the book did not come without its share of controversies and caused quite a stir when readers, mainly teens, started relating themselves with the novel’s central character; Holden Caulfield. The book contained a lot of controversial themes on angst, confusion, alienation, sexuality, profanity, violence racism and rebellion, with Holden Caulfield becoming an icon of sorts among the teens of the period.
The Anarchist Cookbook – William Powell
Upon its release in 1971, The Anarchist Cookbook was deeply panned by critics and even banned from the U.S. The book acted as a recipe for disaster by providing detailed instructions on how to manufacture explosives and create telecommunication phreaking devices among others. It also described enactment scenes pertaining to sabotage, violence and affinity groups. Although the author remarked that the book was written in a fit of rage over the involvement of the U.S. in the Vietnam War, the book was banned in the country for several years.
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Released in 1955, Lolita created a lot of controversies owing to its central theme of forbidden sexuality. The story is that of a middle aged professor who becomes obsessed with and ends up having an illicit affair with a 12 year old girl, especially after becoming her stepfather. Lolita in the story is the nickname given to her by the professor. The book was banned in many countries around the world but released in the U.S. without any issues.
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Published in 1939, the Grapes of Wrath was an in depth portrayal of the deplorable living conditions of the rural poor post the Great Depression. The novel centered on the Joads, a family of sharecroppers who are driven out of their home by the depression and need to travel to California with several other families in search of jobs, food and land. The shocking nature in which the plight of the protagonists was explained was too much for the general population to bear, resulting in the book being burnt publicly as well as being banned in the U.S.
There have been many books that were considered very controversial for their time. However, a few of these books turned out to be so controversial that they remain banned in many countries.