Op-Ed: Clinging to old classics can go hand in hand with banning books
In a society where social media has helped spread the virulent narratives of white supremacists and Trump administration critics, it’s easy to forget that in the late 19th century, one of the things that got most people up in arms was when the government tried to block the publication of a controversial book called The Octopus by American author and journalist John Green.
That book was one of many considered by the administration at the time to be “too libellous to publish,” according to The New York Times, the paper of record for the era. The New York Herald Tribune and the New York Daily Tribune were also on the list of papers that objected to the book’s publication.
A judge in New York ruled against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which was seeking to use its right to seize the book, which was eventually allowed to be published.
But that was only the beginning. The FBI put out its own book on the same topic, a two-volume set called The Octopus: A History of the FBI: The Facts Behind the Fiction of Public Spokesmen and Hollywood-Haters, a book that was published in 1952.
The Octopus is a work that’s been a big part of the United States for the last century, first during World War I. Then during World War II, it was used as propaganda against the Nazis and as a tool of the FBI to discredit and discredit, and ultimately discredit, the right-wing press, The New York Times writes.
That book was so controversial and offensive that, in the years after it was published, it was banned by schools and libraries from being read in many places, including Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Detroit and New Orleans.
It was also banned in many other countries.
The book was so controversial, though, that it was banned even in England, one of the few countries where books from the United States could be easily imported. A government-run newspaper in the United Kingdom called The Spectator, which was published in London and owned by the John Murray press, was banned from publishing any kind of book mentioning the name of the FBI, and a publisher in Manchester