The Little Red Schoolbook

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The little red schoolbook
The little red schoolbook (cover).jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Søren Hansen, Jesper Jensen
Country Denmark
Language Danish
Subject education
Publication date
1969

The Little Red Schoolbook (Danish: Den Lille Røde Bog For Skoleelever; [English: The Little Red Book For Students)] is a book written by two Danish schoolteachers, Søren Hansen (born 28 Mar 1940) and Jesper Jensen which was published in 1969, which was controversial upon its publication. The book was translated into many languages in the early 1970s.

Synopsis[edit]

The book encourages young people to question societal norms and instructs them in how to do this. Out of 200 pages, it includes 20 pages on sex and 30 on drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. Other topics included adults as "paper tigers", the duties of teachers, discipline, examinations, intelligence, and different schools.[1]

Reception[edit]

As a result of its subject matter and its targeted audience of schoolchildren, a number of politicians in many countries criticised the book, fearing that the book would erode the moral fabric of society and be an invitation for anarchy in schools.[2] The LRSB was banned in France and Italy.

“For our kids a better school”; Hans Martin Sutermeister's election poster for the Bernese Gemeinderat, 1971

In Switzerland, the Bernese cantonal politician Hans Martin Sutermeister led a campaign against the book. He was successful in temporarily blocking the introduction of the book into the country. The subsequent controversy, however, ended his political career, costing him his job as director of the schools of the Swiss capital and contributed to a split in his party, the Ring of Independents, which led to its mid-term decline.[3][4]

In the UK, the book was the subject of a successful prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act, a decision that was upheld by the Appeal Court and subsequently by the European Court of Human Rights in the case known as Handyside v United Kingdom. The government however allowed a second, censored edition to be published, in which some of the passages criticised in court were amended or cut.[1]

It was discussed critically by Peter Hitchens in his book The Broken Compass: How British Politics Lost its Way (2009). It was the subject of a BBC Radio 4 documentary in 2008 presented and produced by Jolyon Jenkins.[1]

An unexpurgated edition of the book, bar one minor cut, was finally published in the UK during July 2014.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]