The Day They Came to Arrest the Book (Review)

The Day They Came to Arrest the Book

By Hentoff, Nat

Copyright 1982

Young Adult Fiction

Published by Laurel Leaf Books

$6.99 Paperback

ISBN: 0-440-91814-6

(Cover Image Unavailable)

I was saddened to read about the passing of Nat Hentoff, the former Village Voice columnist who was noted for being controversial with everyone, including the liberals who usually agreed with him.

I knew Mr. Hentoff had written one novel because I’d seen a paperback copy of it.  It was a jazz-themed mystery.  I didn’t know he had written other fiction, though.

The Day They Came to Arrest the Book is a Young Adult modern classic, set in a public high school.  The social issue addressed in the story is an attempted censorship of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn on campus.  

In fewer than two hundred pages, Nat Hentoff has depicted the most egregious elements of human power struggles.  In The Day They Came to Arrest the Book, ambitious people with an agenda don’t insult their opponents’ mothers during debates.  They’re more eloquent than that, and their scholarly behavior makes them dangerous.

There are many other angles to this novel, but you should seek them by reading the book, not a review of the book.  You’ll find an entire world in the fictional George Mason High School.

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