10 Controversial Books That Have Been Banned

More than any other medium, books have captured the imagination of people throughout human history. Ever since mankind first began to write down their thoughts, authors have created fictional works that have amazed, informed and even shocked. This ability has often made them fall foul of censors, with many governments even going so far as to ban certain books because of the political, religious or moral messages they contain. While it is now much rarer for a book to be pulled from the shelves thanks to freedom of expression laws, some can still cause problems and some modern entries are included in this list.

The Grapes of Wrath

First released in 1939, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was considered by critics to be a classic almost as soon as it hit store shelves. The Nobel Prize committee even gave John Steinbeck the prize for literature in 1962 on the strength of the novel, yet it was hugely provocative for its depiction of the poor living in America and was banned by many libraries and even the subject of mass burnings.


Slaughterhouse-Five tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, a soldier that is captured by the Nazis during the Battle of the Bulge. However, the profanity used by the soldiers, depiction of sexual encounters and mentions of homosexuality made it unpopular among Christian and conservative groups. Many libraries and schools refused to stock the novel, leading to numerous legal battles.