Banned Books Week: List of Literature Confiscated From Chelsea Manning

Illustration by A. Weaver.

Since it is Banned Books Week, many people are drawing their attention to pieces of literature which have been challenged or outright banned by certain institutions for one reason or another.  But even if a book has been labeled “banned,” most people are free to read it regardless.

But reading certain books is harder or impossible for some, such as incarcerated people. While whistleblower Chelsea Manning was incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth men’s military prison, she was prohibited from reading certain literature. Manning, a trans woman arrested in 2012 for publicizing government documents, was sent letters, books and magazines from her friends and supporters. Although some prisons permit inmates to access a library, over 20 books and magazines were confiscated from Manning’s cell.  

In recognition of Banned Books Week, here’s the list:


  • One issue each of the women’s life and fashion magazines Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair.
  • magazines, OUT and The Advocate.

Confiscating reading material wasn’t the only way the prison attempted to detach Manning from her LGBTQ identity. While incarcerated, Manning was prohibited from growing her hair out and her lawyers had to fight for her access to medical care.

Books: Government, Law and Human Rights

  • A Critique of Adjudication by Duncan Kennedy details the politics of judicial decision making and explains how those decisions affect politics.
  • Data and Goliathby Bruce Schneier focuses on collection of individuals’ internet data, what is done with that information and what should be done about it.
  • Law’s Empireby Ronald Dworkin describes the Anglo-American legal system and how it works.
  • Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymousby Gabriella Coleman offers an account of the hacktivist group, Anonymous and their controversial digital activism tactics.
  • Justice for Hedgehogsby Ronald Dworkin: philosophy, ethics and politics, from Harvard University Press.
  • Taking Rights Seriously” by Ronald Dworkin: questions regarding the ethics of law such as “Must everyone always obey the law and if not, when is a citizen morally free to obey?”
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture” the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review, declassified in 2014, of CIA practices. The Guardian described it as, “one of the most shocking documents ever produced by any modern democracy about its own abuses of its own highest principles.”
  • The Whiskey Rebellion by William Hogeland details the domestic insurgency following the U.S. government’s 1791 decision to place a tax on whiskey.

Additional Books

In all, 22 pieces of literature were confiscated from Manning’s cell.  No reason was given other than that the books were “prohibited property.”

List of confiscated literature. Chelsea Manning/Twitter

List of confiscated literature, continued. Chelsea Manning/Twitter


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