Reading through that next topic in The Children’s Encyclopedia by Arthur Mee, The First Astronomers, I read about Nicolaus Copernicus and how his famous book, known in English as On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. In the Encyclopedia it is claimed that his book was originally banned by the Church, 70 years after its publication, because it explained how the Earth wasn’t at the centre of the universe as was believed at the time (the 1500s), but instead revolved around the Sun. Referring to Wikipedia there it claims that the Church didn’t exactly ban the book but had it temporarily withdrawn from circulation ‘pending “corrections” that would clarify the theory’s status as hypothesis’ but Copernicus had already died; I wonder how this was carried out. Apparently the book was never reprinted with the inflicted changes and was later removed from the then Pope’s Index.
I was going to use this as my basis for pointing out that Banned Book Week starts on the 24th of September. I learned of this event last year after that week had been and gone, but I took the opportunity to research some banned books, with a view to finding one to acquire and read the next time around. I found a list of such books on a Youtube video called ‘These 5 Censored Books Tell a History the Establishment Wants Hidden‘. That list of books didn’t really stir any particular enthusiasm at the time so I left it there, but with the 2017 Week drawing closer I looked back over the list.
By now the last book in the list conveyed something meaningful to me; DuPont. I’m not entirely sure what lured me into a little bit of research on the American corporation; it was something to do with claims about how the company dumped waste, damaging environments and health. Then some weeks or perhaps months later I was visiting a client when I saw the name ‘DuPont’ emblazoned on a decade-or-so-old photograph of when their house was being built; the insulation in the walls of the property, then exposed, had been manufactured by DuPont.
There is a long list on Wikipedia under the heading of ‘Environmental impact‘, dating back to the 1990s. Some things state positive environmental efforts but also includes such things as “[one of the] Top 20 polluters of 2010, legally discharging over 5,000,000 pounds (2,300,000 kg) of toxic chemicals into New Jersey/Delaware waterways.” Then, between “2007 and 2014 there were 34 accidents resulting in toxic releases at DuPont plants across the U.S., … the company became the largest of the 450 businesses placed into the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s ‘severe violator program’ in July 2015.” and ending with “DuPont was part of Global Climate Coalition, a group that lobbied against taking action on climate change.” Good stuff.
Looking up the book ‘DuPont Dynasty, Behind the Nylon Curtain’ by Gerard Colby on Amazon, I found it is freely available, although not available for free, costing around £10. For this reason I have found it as a free PDF download, downloaded it and converted it to .epub file ready to be read during Banned Book Week (there’s a challenge for me):
September 24th in 2017
There is a list of ten books on the bannedbooksweek.org website that have been challenged, but they all seem to be novels questioned for things like their sexually explicit content. To me this sort of stuff isn’t world-changing, and not books I’d choose to read anyway; although the point about them being proposed for banning is what’s all important.