“Moral Bonfires”: An Exploration of Book Burning in American Society

Lisa Olson


This article seeks to offer an introduction to book burning in American society. Firstly, it considers the use of fire as a method of destruction and its relation to freedom of speech and the American judicial system. It then seeks to unearth the reasons for book burning through an examination of a number of instances throughout American history. The phenomenon of book burning has been occurring worldwide for thousands of years, and as a longstanding tradition that has always drawn visceral reactions from spectators, it is still happening with alarming frequency. In America, book burning walks the fine line between censorship and free speech. It remains, however, an attack on knowledge and culture and is consequently a threat to the information management field. This paper, therefore, seeks to explore these occurrences from recent American history and discover why Americans have been, and are still burning books, in an attempt to better understand these attacks.


America, Book Burning, Censorship, Freedom of Speech, United States

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