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Prompted By Banned Books

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In the late 1960’s, I was asked to appear in front of my local Miami (Florida) Draft Board. The Board wanted me to defend my application to become a conscientious objector.  They were especially interested in quotes I used in my application.  The quotes were from Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.  This novel had recently become available after being banned in America. It was with much confusion and consternation that they wondered “was I sure I did not wish to remove the quotes?” Nope–I did not want to remove them. More confusion–and then, much like the end of the day in school, I was dismissed.

Ultimately, my application was approved but that is not the point.  Books, like ideas, should not be banned.



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Characterizations: moving, right on!, well written


  1. Bravo Mrabetns, books can be banned and even burned but – hopefully – never the ideas within..

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    Agreed. And glad your application was approved in the end.

  3. Suzy says:

    I would love it if you gave your story a title. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Tropic of Cancer would be a good title for it. I enjoyed reading it, and am glad your c.o. application was ultimately approved.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    Glad your were approved as a conscientious objector. Can you tell us what quotes from the Tropic of Cancer you used in your application? I know the book was “sexy” in its day, but I assume your quotes were not.

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    I’d think that fact you applied would be more of a concern to them that quotes from a novel.

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