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“Why Books Matter: ‘Books Are Weapons in the War of Ideas'”

It is National Library Week, and today April 24, is National Right to Read Day. It is a good time to talk about “Why Books Matter.”


“Efforts to ban books nearly doubled in 2022 over the previous year, according to a report published Thursday by the American Library Association.” (New York Times, March 27, 2023).


In the current environment of book banning and the attempt to alter what we teach in American History, I believe we are in the midst of a “War of Ideas.” It is one reason I wrote this article: “Why Books Matter: ‘Books Are Weapons in the War of Ideas'” It appears in the January-February issue of Social Education, the journal of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).

It offers an overview of censorship and my thoughts on the current conflict. Book banning has a long history. But we are at a significant moment when the stakes have rarely been higher.

You can also read my earlier related piece: “When Robin Hood Was Blacklisted”

And as I point out, more than half of the 58 writers included in my new book, Great Short Books: A Year of Reading–Briefly, were also banned, censored, or suppressed. Several had their works burned.

The Latest From My Blog

Upcoming event: “So Many Books, So Little Time” Hudson Park Branch (NYPL)

Join me for an evening of conversation about GREAT SHORT BOOKS: A YEAR OF READING–BRIEFLY! THURSDAY JUNE 8, 2023 6:30 PM

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GREAT SHORT BOOKS: A Year of Reading–Briefly

“An exciting guide to all that the world of fiction has to offer in 58 short novels…that, ‘like a first date,’ offer pleasure and excitement without commitment.” –The New York Times Book Review

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