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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



Not in Front of the Children: Indecency, Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth by Marjorie Heins (Hill & Wang) The first comprehensive history of our battles over children and censorship.

From Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter, Internet filters to the V-chip, censorship exercised on behalf of children and adolescents is often based on the assumption that they must be protected from "indecent" information that might harm their development -- whether in art, in literature, or on a Web site. But where does this assumption come from, and is it true?

In Not in Front of the Children, Marjorie Heins explores the fascinating history of "indecency" laws and other restrictions aimed at protecting youth. From Plato's argument for rigid censorship, through Victorian laws aimed at repressing libidinous thoughts, to contemporary battles over sex education in public schools and violence in the media, Heins guides us through what became, and remains, an ideological minefield. With fascinating examples drawn from around the globe, she suggests that the "harm-to-minors" argument rests on shaky foundations.

There is an urgent need for informed, dispassionate debate about the perceived conflict between the free-expression rights of young people and the widespread urge to shield, protect, or censor them. Not in Front of the Children will spur this long-needed conversation. 

Censored Books: Critical Viewpoints by Nicholas Karolides and Lee Burress (Scarecrow) collection of sixty-three essays provides assistance to the growing number of students, teachers, librarians, and parents who find themselves confronting a censorship situation. The contributors are both authors--of fiction, drama, and poetry for adults, children, and adolescents--and teachers of literature, writing about the books that are most frequently challenged in schools and libraries. Part I provides six authors' perspectives on censorship by omission and commission. Part II provides responses and defenses of individual books. Arranged alphabetically by the title of the text, and others to teaching concerns. The array is enlightening.


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