Education: Purple, Not Red

Novelist Howard Fast learned U.S. history in the New York City public schools. Later, when he became an editor of the Communist New Masses, he learned another version. Last week New York City's Board of Superintendents voted to ban 32-year-old Alumnus Fast's fast-selling (875,000 U.S. copies) novel Citizen Tom Paine from all public-school bookshelves.

The board hastily explained that its objection was not to the author's being red but to some of his passages being "too purple to be read by children." Novelist Fast had written too much about breasts, virgins and "oceans of flesh," put phrases like "I lick God's belly"...

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