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Not in Front of the Children: "Indencency, " Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth
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Not in Front of the Children: "Indencency, " Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  85 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The first comprehensive history of the debate about censorship designed to protect children and winner of the ALA's 2002 Eli Oboler Award for best-published work in the area of intellectual freedom
From Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter, Internet filters to the V-chip, censorship is often based on the assumption that children and adolescents must be protected from "indecent
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 10th 2002 by Hill & Wang (first published 2001)
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This book is a mess. There *are* some good sections but Heins never analyzes anything or falls back on truisms to focus almost exclusively on "the Child" as a pure figure corrupted by the evils of sexuality, drug use, violence on (whatever media expression exists in the time period). The thing is since there is no theory work (other than the first 20 pages which are about the arising of the idea of children as something that is worth investing concern in rather than being sold to apprenticeship ...more
May 01, 2016 Erika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Censorship has been used throughout the years to "protect" children, women, the mentally deficient and the socially inferior classes who are simply to fragile or vulnerable to be exposed to dangerous and challenging ideas.

This book takes a look at the history of the censorship and the attempts to control the expression of ideas and thoughts using the threat to and protection of the innocent. Even if no one can ever clearly explain and prove what that threat is.

It was a bit hard to get through at
Amy Bailey
Mar 19, 2012 Amy Bailey rated it really liked it
This is a very thorough and easy-to-follow account of the history of censorship in the U.S. (with also a brief section of worldwide historical significance). At times I found myself wishing it was over, as much of the history of intellectual freedom is the same issues rehashed by different generations. However, this is a valuable read for anyone interested in issues surrounding intellectual freedom, especially those regarding children and young adults, as well as professionals in library or teac ...more
Jan 20, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the information and discussion about "harmful" ideas for children and how American thinking on this has developed (or not). Found the sections about sex ed materials particularly interesting; also the historical background (e.g. when did we begin thinking of kids as innocent and pure? hint: Christianity had a lot to do with it, because the ancients tended to think children were basically disgusting). A lot of legal information but presented in a pretty engaging way. Highly recomme ...more
Tyler Malone
Sep 29, 2012 Tyler Malone rated it really liked it
This book really is a remarkable piece of work. Sure, a lot of same characters and platitudes come in a little too often, but the thesis, should taboos be restricted by governments or corporations, is incredibly compelling, because, as the book demonstrates, the threshold of harm seems limitless when freedoms to “harm” ourselves are taken away ; most times restricting these things changes the path that society flows. If you’re interested in an expansive bibliography and a book that really maps o ...more
Jun 06, 2007 Colleen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: students of censorship, sexuality, media and parents
Shelves: sexuality, censorship
This is loaded with information and is accessible in its style and layout. Heins brings a lot of reason and insight to an complex issue, as well as facts,and historical precedent. Some of the parts I liked best, though, are when she discusses how certain aspects of the issue of what our children watch aren't as fundamentally human as we might think- like the presumption of childhood sexual innocence. If you think about these issues, this is worth every page.
Nov 12, 2011 Marissa rated it really liked it
I used this for a research paper, and it helped immensely. The book is really well-researched and keeps you interested, until it becomes a bit repetitive. The subject remains intriguing, but the focus of the book strays a little toward the end, when it almost becomes a summary of legal cases involving censorship. Nevertheless, I would recommend it.
Sep 23, 2007 Caroline rated it liked it
This book was interesting but a little hard to get through. If I hadn't had to read it for class, I may have not finished it... oh wait, I didn't finish it. Oops.

Hiens does a really thorough job of detailin the legislative nad judicial history of censorship, of many media, laws and legislation.
C.E. G
Aug 15, 2011 C.E. G rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, school
Read this for my independent study. Kind of dry and repetitive legal history of censorship and children. Makes the good but not groundbreaking point that censorship is more about socializing youth than protecting them from psychological harm, and that adults are often uncomfortable with children's sexuality and sexuality in general.
First Second Books
I posted more about this book on the First Second blog, so what I’ll say here is: this is a fascinating book that traces the path of the legal wars on the ‘freedom of speech’ part of the first amendment, with special attention on how the judgments were continually aimed at ‘protecting children’ despite children rarely being a part of the matter at hand.
Jan 19, 2010 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: library_services
A fairly read-able legal history. I disagree with her decision to conflate pornography and erotica, but on the whole it s a well researched history. A valuable resources of youth services librarians.
An in-depth look at censorship law through the ages, changing social attitudes towards children, and the problematic efforts of determining what's good or bad for children. Very deep but some interesting points raised.
Jun 04, 2016 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: censorship, culture, law
Very dense history of censorship law in the U.S. and Britain primarily. This is not a light read, but it's a good one, recommended to anyone studying the subject. Very thorough.
Feb 13, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: education
Part of my reading for Intro Education research paper on censorship in children's books. Interesting subject.
Brian S. Wise
Jun 05, 2010 Brian S. Wise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed
The book is frequently difficult to read, because Heins' writing style is boxy and somewhat unpleasant.
Aug 22, 2012 Virginia rated it it was amazing
A former Professor of mine wrote this. I truly enjoyed reading was informative and interesting.
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