A little book widely red
IT was known as “the book that shook the world” and banned from sale in multiple countries.
The Little Red Schoolbook hit Australian bookstores in 1972 and was an instant hit. thanks to the worldwide controversy preceding its release.
The subversive book, selling for $1.75, was written by two Danish schoolteachers and frankly discussed sex, contraception, drugs, alcohol and education — and unleashed hysteria from traditionalists for its permissive stance and antiauthoritarian advice.
Leading Australian conservative Bob Santamaria reportedly said the book was “not even suitable for adults with weak stomachs”.
It was denounced by the Pope as sacrilegious.
And it was banned in the UK, where its publisher was successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, as well as in New Zealand, France, Italy — and Queensland. As The Sun reported at the time, Melbourne parents were quick to buy the book, which deliberately echoed Mao’s Little Red Book in title and design.
One woman looked horrified when a bookseller told her the book contained “everything your children want to know”.
The book’s release here came after federal Cabinet backed customs minister Don Chipp’s decision to let it go on sale, but it also decided to try to stop the book being distributed in schools.
It was a vindication of Mr Chipp, who had let it be known he would resign if he was overruled.
If you read the book in 1972, let us know what you thought.