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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Banned Books in the UK

Several books on terrorism have been banned in the UK, either published and then removed from the shelves or refused publication altogether. In some instances, the books were thrown into pulping machines so that all evidence of their existence was destroyed.

According to Spiked Magazine books by British, American and French authors have suffered this fate. Both books by left-leaning authors who question the ‘war on terror’, and books by conservative authors who support it, have been removed from Britain’s bookshelves. Such is the censorious nature of English libel law that these books have effectively been wiped off the intellectual map: you won’t find them in any bookshop or library.

The spiked review of books invited five authors whose books are no longer available in Britain to tell British readers why their books were an important contribution to the broader debate about terrorism, and why it’s a shame that British readers have been denied access to their work.

2 Responses to “Banned Books in the UK”

  1. I think that to cite “…the censorious nature of English libel law…” as the reason is only half the story. The first word that struck me in that article was “billionaire”. Then it is expressed that it is the same billionaire who has sought successive legal action in the UK courts. Neither do I see any of the big publishing houses in there; they might have sufficient insurance and finances to fight an action, but the smaller presses would not.

    For me, this is also about the power of the $ and what having enormous amounts of it can bring to the table, alongside a weak court and consideration of political actions.

    Britain’s own internal pressures on speaking out led to the death of David Kelly and that is shameful and bad enough.

    It is also sad that freedom of speech is stifled in a country that “values” this, in its own courts of law, because someone with endless funds can haul in the best (no doubt) and suppress the publishers.

    That article left me wondering how well I really know my own country.

    jb says: Hi CFR, that last sentence of yours poses an interesting question for all of us.

  2. Paul says:


    jb says: But not surprising?