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Banned books discussed at Plattsburgh State

Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been banned for alleged perversity and for being critical of religion.

Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been banned for alleged perversity and for being critical of religion.

Animal Farm by George Orwell was not printed from 1943-1945 because it was perceived to be critical of the USSR. A play of the book was banned in Kenya in 1991 because it criticized corrupt leaders, and in 2002 the United Arab Emirates banned it in schools because it went against Islamic values.

The Bible has been censored in dozens of countries.

Some European nations and the Russian Federation banned Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, while in Austria it cannot be printed and it is illegal to own and distribute existing copies.

Those gathered at Plattsburgh State read from 25 of the hundreds of banned titles. Each individual described the book and why it was banned and read an excerpt.

Dr. Simona Sharoni of Plattsburgh State selected “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

“It provides a frightening view of the future in which racism and homophobia run rampant,” Sharoni said. “It is a satire, a feminist’s ‘1984,’ and it has been challenged continuously.”

Among the challenges, some claimed it was overly critical of religion and promoted lesbianism.

Dr. Danielle Garneau chose John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace,” which was challenged in 1980 as a filthy sex novel.

“The story is set in an all-boys prep school in New Hampshire,” Garneau said. “It is a story of love and fear and intense betrayal.”

Holly Heller Ross of Plattsburgh State read from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which is the 28th most challenged book for allegations of pornography and that it glorifies criminal activity and corrupts juveniles.

“It was most recently banned in 2000 in California,” Heller Ross said. “It is the story of a mental hospital and an individual who convinces folks at the prison he is insane so he can get into the mental hospital where he fights against the establishment.”

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