Forbidden print: a brief history of banned books [infographic]

Censorship: it’s like a publicist’s dream!

Nothing makes me want to read a book more than when someone says I can’t read it.

Check out this infographic from PrinterInks featuring some now classic books that were banned because of… well, you’ll see the reasons below:

Banned Books infographic

What’s your favorite banned book? Let us know in the comments below.

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Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."


  1. Thank you for pointing out the omission of “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak from the previous list. You are absolutely right, “Doctor Zhivago” is a significant example of a banned book in the Soviet Union.

  2. ‘Spycatcher’ by Peter Wright was banned in the UK, yet freely available across the Channel in mainland Europe. It was considered that Wright, a former MI5 officer, had breached the ‘Official Secrets Act’ and had suggested that actions had been sanctioned against leading UK politicians.

  3. And then there was Hardy’s ‘Tom Jones banned by the Alberta Government and worst of all the University of Alberta in the early 1960’s when I was a student. They tried to ban the movie but I don’t think they succeeded. Hurrah!

  4. This is an interesting list. One notable book missing is Dr. Zivago written by Boris Pasternak, which was banned in the USSR for many years. Russian copies were published in other countries and smuggled into the country illegally. The subject was deemed by the authorities as being too critical of the early Communist leaders. After Pasternak’s persecution and death, Khrushchev had it reviewed by a close aide who said the large volume only a few pages would need revision.

    • What I meant is from such a large volume, only a handful of pages and paragraphs would have to be omitted or rewritten from a Communist government point of view. I misspelled the title in my last post, it should be Dr. Zhivago. It was such a shame that Pasternak, who was ostracized by his own writting community and government officials never significantly received praise from his own Russian countryman for this great work while he lived. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 but was forbidden to accept it by the Russian authorities who were embarrassed by the honor.

  5. You missed “Go Ask Alice”. I remember going out to buy it when it was banned in our schools in Canada in the 70s.

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