What happens when freedom of expression comes under threat? In frank and wide-ranging interviews, historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus probes the experience of thirteen leading authors of books for young people.
Marcus probes not just what made these works controversial, but also the life paths that led the writers to pursue their subjects, and how they reacted to campaigns to muzzle their work—all of which are sure to interest their young fans, as well as students of free speech ... To read these writers sharing their reasons for broaching delicate topics is to realize that the fights over their books are fundamental struggles over how we are raising and educating new generations ... Marcus’s interviews spotlight what is at stake when books are challenged.
Each conversation is frank and utterly engrossing. Familiarity with the banned books discussed is not necessary to be absorbed in the discussions, which will certainly send readers to seek out the titles. Librarians and lovers of youth literature will feel like they are a part of conversations between old friends and gain new understanding into the value of their everyday work. Those studying censorship will find important primary sources and gain useful insight on how harmful censorship can be to young lives. Marcus also includes a concise, informative history of censorship and banned books in the United States ... This important work is highly recommended for all libraries serving teens and scholars.
... an informative and enlightening introduction ... Marcus has clearly done his homework, his questions and comments reflecting wide reading of each of his subject’s work. Their answers are unfailingly eloquent and insightful ... Marcus’ book is essential reading for all of those who treasure free speech.