Nat(han Irving) Hentoff

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Publishers Weekly

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199

"Fiction can be more real than fact, can tell you more about what ordinary people were like," according to a student at the high school where Hentoff sets ["The Day They Came to Arrest the Book"]. The statement implies the reason for the fictional treatment of real and widely aired demands for book censorship. The format works well, thanks to the author's striking use of dialogue, individualizing a large cast of opposing characters…. Adding fuel to incendiary debates [about whether or not Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is racist] are Kate, a feminist student who damns the Twain classic's portrayal of women, along with an avowed champion of the right to ban all writing that he and his advocates decide are antireligious and/or antimoral. The battle is joined and rages on in the engrossing story. It is an outstanding work, given added value by the author's honest, comprehensive coverage of all sides of the argument over "dangerous freedoms."

A review of "The Day They Came to Arrest the Book," in Publishers Weekly (reprinted from the September 10, 1982 issue of Publishers Weekly, published by R. R. Bowker Company; copyright © 1982 by R. R. Bowker Company), Vol. 222, No. 11, September 10, 1982, p. 76.

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