Obscene in the Extreme
To coincide with Banned Books Week, we recommend a historical account of the dramatic desecration of one such honored book, Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
One of those honored books is Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck’s 1939 bestseller The Grapes of Wrath.
In Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck’s the Grapes of Wrath, Rick Wartzman (The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire) artfully recounts the first dramatic desecration in Kern County, Calif., where plutocrat W.B. Bill Camp directed a public burning in downtown Bakersfield, blustering: We are angry, not because we were attacked but because we were attacked by a book obscene in the extreme sense of the word. The heroine of this sad chapter of American historythen, as nowwas a librarian, Gretchen Knief, who wisely responded: If that book is banned today, what book will be banned tomorrow?
Yes, it can happen here.