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In today’s History Page: When Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” was banned and burned.

On a hot afternoon in the summer of 1939, three men stood over a small metal trash can in Bakersfield, Calif., where they were about to burn a popular book. In the middle, sharecropper Clell Pruett, his hair pomaded back and dirty coveralls hitched high with suspenders, dangled a copy of John Steinbeck’s newly published novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” A photographer snapped a shot. The book dropped and the bin was set aflame.
It was Aug. 24, three days since head librarian Gretchen Kneif found out that the Kern County Board of Supervisors had voted 4–1 to remove the instant bestseller from area libraries and schools, despite the fact that there was already a waiting list to check out one of the 60 copies in circulation. Never before had the district voted to ban a book.

In today’s History Page: When Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” was banned and burned.

On a hot afternoon in the summer of 1939, three men stood over a small metal trash can in Bakersfield, Calif., where they were about to burn a popular book. In the middle, sharecropper Clell Pruett, his hair pomaded back and dirty coveralls hitched high with suspenders, dangled a copy of John Steinbeck’s newly published novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” A photographer snapped a shot. The book dropped and the bin was set aflame.

It was Aug. 24, three days since head librarian Gretchen Kneif found out that the Kern County Board of Supervisors had voted 4–1 to remove the instant bestseller from area libraries and schools, despite the fact that there was already a waiting list to check out one of the 60 copies in circulation. Never before had the district voted to ban a book.

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