The most recommended books about censorship

Who picked these books? Meet our 41 experts.

41 authors created a book list connected to censorship, and here are their favorite censorship books.
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Book cover of Fahrenheit 451

Dan Savery Raz Author Of The Qwerty Man

From my list on dystopian books that could actually happen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer and drawn to books that look through a window into the "other world." These novels, often dubbed dystopian, are reflections or exaggerations of our own world, and this always appealed to me. Like the question, "What if?”. The premise of “What if we lived in a world where you had to pay for words?” inspired my first novel, The Qwerty Man. Although I love fiction, I’m more of a nonfiction reader these days and interested in Buddhism (as an education, not religion), geography, and history. I’ve also written travel guidebooks for Lonely Planet and a children’s travel poetry book called Rhyme Travels.

Dan's book list on dystopian books that could actually happen

Dan Savery Raz Why did Dan love this book?

I read this book relatively recently, not at school or when I was in my twenties, but when I was in my late thirties. I had heard of the novel, and the concept of burning books was all-too familiar as I studied a module on Holocaust literature at university. However, the premise of Ray Bradbury’s novel, written in 1953, was so simple yet so powerful.

It echoes with our own reality today, as although books are not being burned, we are seeing the art of writing itself being "burned" or minimized by tools such as AI or social media. The virtual burning of honest reportage or poetry for opinionated views and algorithms is one symptom of today’s fast-paced society. 

There were some great quotes in Fahrenheit 451, too; the one that really stuck out was, “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… A child or a book or a…

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Fahrenheit 451 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen.

Over 1 million copies sold in the UK.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic…


Book cover of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

Tom Wheeler Author Of From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

From my list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fortunate to have spent the last 40 years of my professional life dealing with new networks and new technology. From the early days of cable television and mobile communications to the development of digital video and the transmission of data over cable lines and satellite. It was a career topped off with the privilege of being the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with regulatory responsibly for approximately 1/6th of the American economy (on which the other 5/6s depended). 

Tom's book list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow

Tom Wheeler Why did Tom love this book?

At a time when new technology has delivered us to a world of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation, we have lost our shared understanding of just what facts and truth are.

Jonathan Rauch helps us recall the importance of facts and truth to the liberal democratic process. He challenges us to reinstate knowledge and truth. 

By Jonathan Rauch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Constitution of Knowledge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arming Americans to defend the truth from today's war on facts.

Disinformation. Trolling. Conspiracies. Social media pile-ons. Campus intolerance. On the surface, these recent additions to our daily vocabulary appear to have little in common. But together, they are driving an epistemic crisis: a multi-front challenge to America's ability to distinguish fact from fiction and elevate truth above falsehood.

In 2016 Russian trolls and bots nearly drowned the truth in a flood of fake news and conspiracy theories, and Donald Trump and his troll armies continued to do the same. Social media companies struggled to keep up with a flood…


Book cover of Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code

Brett Dakin Author Of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason

From my list on the history of golden age comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Brett Dakin is the author of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason and Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos. Brett's writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, the International Herald TribuneThe Washington Post, and The Guardian. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Brett grew up in London and now lives in New York City with his husbandand their dog, Carl.

Brett's book list on the history of golden age comics

Brett Dakin Why did Brett love this book?

Amy’s book takes on the same topic, but from the perspective of an academic—and with a more balanced, objective approach. In particular, she examines the role of anti-comics crusader Dr. Fredric Wertham, arguing that his “role in the crusade against comics has been largely misinterpreted by fans and scholars alike, who dismiss his findings as naïve social science, failing to understand how his work on comic books fits into the larger context of his beliefs about violence, psychiatry, and social reform." 

By Amy Kiste Nyberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seal of Approval as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the past forty years the content of comic books has been governed by an industry self-regulatory code adopted by publishers in 1954 in response to public and governmental pressure.

This book examines why comic books were the subject of controversy, beginning with objections that surfaced shortly after the introduction of modern comic books in the mid-1930s, when parents and teachers accused comic books of contaminating children's culture and luring children away from more appropriate reading material.

It traces how, in the years following World War II, the criticism of comic books shifted to their content, and the reading of…


Book cover of No Woman's World: From D-Day to Berlin, A Female Correspondent Covers World War Two

Judith Mackrell Author Of The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II

From my list on WW2 – but written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I was child growing up in London, the war was a powerful presence in my life. It was there in the films we watched, in the comics my brothers read, and in my vague understanding of what it meant to be British. It was not a subject we ever studied at school and as an adult I’ve always felt frustrated by my inadequate knowledge of this world-changing conflict. When I first had the idea of writing about the six remarkable women who pioneered the way for female war journalists, it wasn’t just their personal stories that drew me in but the chance to learn more about WW2 itself.

Judith's book list on WW2 – but written by women

Judith Mackrell Why did Judith love this book?

When Iris Carpenter was reporting on the war she, like all journalists, was subject to the rules of the military censors. But once the conflict was over she was free to publish the truth of all that she’d seen, and her 1946 memoir is an extraordinarily candid, occasionally harrowing read. As her title suggests, Carpenter’s principal objective was to expose the prejudice and stupidity against which she and her female colleagues had to battle, simply to get to the front—her account was one of the primary sources for my book. But she was also a fearless eyewitness and her memoir provides rare insights into the conditions of war, both its camaraderie and its horror.

By Iris Carpenter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Woman's World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Ed Kennedy's War: V-E Day, Censorship, and the Associated Press

Richard Fine Author Of The Price of Truth: The Journalist Who Defied Military Censors to Report the Fall of Nazi Germany

From my list on American war reporting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been curious about how reporters covered D-Day, and their interactions with the army, for more than thirty years, and my research into media-military relations, begun in earnest fifteen years ago has led to more than a dozen archives in several countries. Most accounts suggest that the press and the military fully cooperated during World War II, but documentary evidence reveals a far more nuanced story, with far more conflict between officials and the press than is supposed. After publishing work about the campaign in French North Africa, and a book about Ed Kennedy’s scoop of the German surrender, I’m now back where I started, working on a book about press coverage of D-Day.

Richard's book list on American war reporting

Richard Fine Why did Richard love this book?

I first encountered Ed Kennedy while doing research in the AP archives and have spent the better part of a decade untangling what proved to be the biggest controversy over press coverage of the war—Kennedy’s scoop of the German surrender.

No American war correspondent was more experienced than Kennedy, who reported for the Associated Press from the Spanish Civil War until the end of World War II.

Given that Kennedy acted as an AP bureau chief in both North Africa and Paris, his memoir, written in the late 1940s but not published for sixty years, is the best insider account we have at how American reporters interacted with army public relations and censorship officials during the war.

By Ed Kennedy, Julia Kennedy Cochran (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ed Kennedy's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On May 7, 1945, Associated Press reporter Ed Kennedy became the most famous -- or infamous -- American correspondent of World War II. On that day in France, General Alfred Jodl signed the official documents as the Germans surrendered to the Allies. Army officials allowed a select number of reporters, including Kennedy, to witness this historic moment -- but then instructed the journalists that the story was under military embargo. In a courageous but costly move, Kennedy defied the military embargo and broke the news of the Allied victory. His scoop generated instant controversy. Rival news organisations angrily protested, and…


Book cover of The Military and the Press: An Uneasy Truce

Richard Fine Author Of The Price of Truth: The Journalist Who Defied Military Censors to Report the Fall of Nazi Germany

From my list on American war reporting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been curious about how reporters covered D-Day, and their interactions with the army, for more than thirty years, and my research into media-military relations, begun in earnest fifteen years ago has led to more than a dozen archives in several countries. Most accounts suggest that the press and the military fully cooperated during World War II, but documentary evidence reveals a far more nuanced story, with far more conflict between officials and the press than is supposed. After publishing work about the campaign in French North Africa, and a book about Ed Kennedy’s scoop of the German surrender, I’m now back where I started, working on a book about press coverage of D-Day.

Richard's book list on American war reporting

Richard Fine Why did Richard love this book?

This book was a lifesaver for me as I began to explore media-military relations about a decade ago.

Briefly but authoritatively Sweeney charts the relationship between the American military and the media from the Revolutionary War to the early twenty-first century. Sweeney, a former journalist himself, also writes well and this is a joy to read.

The subtitle suggests Sweeney’s take on the subject, and Sweeney’s work generally has been invaluable to me and this book would be the place to start for anyone interested in the subject.  

By Michael S. Sweeney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Military and the Press as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Because news is a weapon of war - affecting public opinion, troop morale, even strategy - for more than a century America's wartime officials have sought to control or influence the press, most recently by ""embedding"" reporters within military units in Iraq. This second front, where press freedom and military imperatives often do battle, is the territory explored in ""The Military and the Press"", a history of how press-military relations have evolved during the twentieth and twenty-first century in response to the demands of politics, economics, technology, and legal and social forces. Author Michael S. Sweeney takes a chronological approach,…


Book cover of Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media

Paul Anthony Cartledge Author Of Democracy: A Life

From my list on freedom and freedom of speech in Ancient Greece.

Why am I passionate about this?

My Democracy book was the summation of my views to that date (2018) on the strengths and weaknesses of democracy as a political system, in both its ancient and its modern forms. I’d been an activist and advocate of democracy since my undergraduate days (at Oxford, in the late 1960s – interesting times!). As I was writing the book the world of democracy suddenly took unexpected, and to me undesirable turns, not least in the United States and my own U.K. An entire issue of an English-language Italian political-philosophy journal was devoted to the book in 2019, and in 2021 a Companion to the reception of Athenian democracy in subsequent epochs was dedicated to me.

Paul's book list on freedom and freedom of speech in Ancient Greece

Paul Anthony Cartledge Why did Paul love this book?

Jacob is the founder and executive director of Justitia, a Danish think-tank. He had the brilliant idea of organising and presenting a lengthy and probing podcast series, Clear and Present Danger: A History of Free Speech, and that is the basis of this book—written by himself but adopting and adapting the originally oral contributions of his many online guests. Of whom I was one of the first, since he chose to begin at the beginning with ‘Ancient (that is, Greek) Beginnings’. Rather than free speech being a danger to democracy, it has unique, universal, and enduring importance, as a liberating and equalising principle and force throughout history and around the world. But it also has costs. Was Socrates justly condemned? Jacob thinks not, but I tend to take the side of the majority of his judges.

By Jacob Mchangama,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Free Speech as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A global history of free speech, from the ancient world to today.

Hailed as the "first freedom," free speech is the bedrock of democracy. But it is a challenging principle, subject to erosion in times of upheaval. Today, in democracies and authoritarian states around the world, it is on the retreat.
In Free Speech, Jacob Mchangama traces the riveting legal, political, and cultural history of this idea. Through captivating stories of free speech's many defenders - from the ancient Athenian orator Demosthenes and the ninth-century freethinker al-Razi, to Mary Wollstonecraft, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and modern-day digital activists - Mchangama…


Book cover of Warlight

Amanda Hale Author Of Mad Hatter, Volume 164

From my list on human relations in the altered reality of wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

The writing of Mad Hatter (my 7th book), was fueled by curiosity about WW2 and about my absent father. I emigrated to Canada as a young woman and pursued a career in the Arts – theatre, painting, writing. But only when I embarked on this fictionalized family story did I begin to uncover shocking family secrets as I pulled together threads of childhood memory, woven in with research material, trying to make sense of it all. Writing has literally saved my life, and Mad Hatter has liberated me in a manner I could never have predicted. I am an intense, passionate workaholic, writing in many genres, exulting in life's surprises!

Amanda's book list on human relations in the altered reality of wartime

Amanda Hale Why did Amanda love this book?

Since my own novel is set partly in post-war England, I was drawn to Ondaatje’s Warlight, which begins in 1945 London as the city is recovering from brutal bombing. Another hook for me was the youthful characters; my book is also populated with war-confused children. Ondaatje’s narrator, 14-year-old Nathaniel, recalls his youth with the benefit of adult wisdom. He and his sister Rachel are abandoned by their parents to the care of some eccentric and slightly dangerous characters. Their teen years are marked by many mysterious events and experiences, only beginning to clarify in retrospect. Do we ever know what’s really happening?

By Michael Ondaatje,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Warlight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018**

An elegiac novel set in post-WW2 London about memory, family secrets and lies, from the internationally acclaimed author of The English Patient

It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women all who seem determined to protect Rachel and Nathaniel.…


Book cover of Lars Porsena: On the Future of Swearing

Joy Porter Author Of Trauma, Primitivism and the First World War: The Making of Frank Prewett

From my list on cultural history of the First World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Joy Porter is an Irish writer who grew up in war (The Troubles). She is intrigued by how we relate to one another culturally and by what makes peace and conflict happen. She researches Indigenous, environmental, and diplomatic themes in an interdisciplinary context and co-leads the Treatied Spaces Research Group at The University of Hull. U.K. Fascinated by the mind, by what makes us love, persevere, transcend and escape the legacies of conflict, her work exposes how culture impacts the world.

Joy's book list on cultural history of the First World War

Joy Porter Why did Joy love this book?

No one has ever heard of this book, but it is hilarious! Written by the inimitable poet, critic, author, and wit Robert Graves, it is a rumination on the future of swearing and improper language. Graves had a wonderful ability to talk about things of the utmost gravity in a way that, while not displacing their significance, allowed us to laugh about them. His were, as someone once said, “jests too deep for laughter”. Perhaps at no time in history was such a capability more culturally appropriate and important than during the First World War. Swearing bursts onto the mainstream in this era because, as Graves puts it in Lars Porsena with typical wry insouciance, “Silence under suffering is usually impossible.”

By Robert Graves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lars Porsena as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Equal parts history and absurdity, this tongue-in-cheek treatise laments the decline of swearing and foul language in England and looks back with nostalgia at the glory days of oaths and blasphemies. Written when censorship in England was still in full sway, this was an impassionate defense of the foul-mouthed in literature and a resounding attack of hypocrisy and Puritanism.


Book cover of The Eyre Affair

J.J. Cagney Author Of A Pilgrimage to Death

From my list on mystery for Agatha Christie readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading mysteries in elementary school: Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Stephen King fed my thirst for story, puzzles, and the “super-psychological.” There’s so much about the mind we don’t understand—including our relationships with animals (like an octopus detective)—or the bond between twins (like the one in my Cici series). When I worked with Irene Webb as an associate literary agent in the 2000s, my fascination with the written word and “super-psychological” blossomed. I enjoy connecting motivations, secrets, and passions into a tapestry of humanity. At their core, stories teach us how to be more human, and I want to be part of that lesson. Please enjoy this book list I’ve curated for you.

J.J.'s book list on mystery for Agatha Christie readers

J.J. Cagney Why did J.J. love this book?

A friend recommended this series to me and, because we both enjoy British literature, I knew I’d give it a go.

What I didn’t expect was to be so utterly charmed, not just by the Britishism, but by the premise: literary detectives must stop her former professor before he can murder Jane Eyre…and have the heroine disappear from literature forever.

The alternative reality is a surreal, quirky 1985 that I reveled in (who wouldn’t want a pet dodo, airships, literary detectors, or a Prose Portal?), but it’s Thursday Next’s insights into her own mistakes, human motivation, and the beauty of the written word that gripped me until I’d finished the last page.

By Jasper Fforde,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Eyre Affair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, fear or boyfriend

Jasper Fforde's beloved New York Times bestselling novel introduces literary detective Thursday Next and her alternate reality of literature-obsessed England-from the author of The Constant Rabbit

Fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse will love visiting Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, when time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously: it's a bibliophile's dream. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic…