CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys, c1983.
294pp, paper, $14.95.
ISBN 0-88619-041-X.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by John D. Crawford.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

This is a collection of contributions to a 1981 conference on The Writer and Human Rights held in Toronto. The individual writings cover a broad cross-section of the political spectrum, with criticism directed toward both right and left-wing repression. The level of attack ranges from the carefully measured to the highly impassioned but all combine to underline the presence of cruel restraints upon writers and their work in many parts of the world. The focus and beneficiary of both the conference and this book is Amnesty International, and the content of the pieces contributed for the most part support the direction of that remarkable institution.

The respect, indeed fear, felt by repressive regimes for writers and their works is well-established. This has been fictionalized in such works as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, but factual examples are equally dramatic with the book-burning frenzy of Nazi Germany being only a more publicized episode in a long history of censorship imposed by tyrants. Writers rightly perceive themselves to be in the front line of opposition to such repression, and reference is made in this volume to many writers who have paid a heavy price for it. Circumstances such as war may demand necessary constraints on a variety of freedoms, while public sensitivity must be given consideration. These can all be made the subject of acceptable laws. The restrictions criticized in this book go beyond this situation to the point where they exemplify the brutality of the regimes that impose them.

Students of international human rights will find this book to be of enormous value and interest. The more general reader will find much of the contents rather specialized but nevertheless quite fascinating in places. The importance of the subject need not be underlined, the identification and publicizing of the numerous examples of repression described in this book is sufficient reason for its publication.

John D Crawford, Frank Hobbs E. S., Victoria, BC.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works