Removal of banned book raises censorship questions

A book that was banned 40 years ago has been seized from a second-hand book shop in Wellington, prompting questions about the relevance of historical censorship.

Bloody Mama, based on the true story of Kate "Ma" Baker and her four criminal sons in Chicago, was banned in 1971 because of a suggestion of incestuous relationships within the family.

It was removed by the Department of Internal Affairs following an anonymous tip-off.

Store owner Don Hollander says he does not know how he got the book and was happy to hand it over.

He says he was surprised because the book is not as controversial as others he has that do not feature on a banned list.

Mr Hollander says people should be free to read any book.

The Department of Internal Affairs says the book has been passed to the Office of Film and Literature Classification to see whether it can be removed from the list.

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