Over the millennia there have been many times in history when a particular book or many types of books have be banned by the higher authorities, whether from a Government or a Religious institution.
This overt act of censorship, designed to control the masses by controlling the influences that they are exposed to, is the purest and most simple form of Authoritarian rule.
When you look deeply at the reasons why certain Governments and Religious Leaders have instituted bans on certain forms of literature including books, it almost always comes back to the fear that the regime has of the written word because of the effect that it can have on the populations that inhabit the lands they rule or a firm desire to change the history of an era in their favor.
The earliest known act of banning or burning of books is in very early China, around 259-210 BC, when the Emperor Shih Huang Ti not only burned all the books in his Kingdom, but buried alive a host of Confucian scholars in a vain attempt at having the history of the Chinese Empire begin with his rule.
Attempts like this, done to influence events in favor of a single ruler are at least less representative than the attempts to influence the masses by removing or banning books from being read that may have a detrimental effect on the philosophy of the times.
A perfect example of this is Charles Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” which was banned in many arena’s for the simple reason that it contradicted the religious belief that God had made the creatures of the world as they appeared at that time and the Church was frightened (and still is!) of the implications of Darwin’s contrarian teachings.
The fact is that there will always be people who will disagree with the writings of certain other peoples.