Academic Book Week’s Most Influential Banned Books

On the Origin of Species Crowned Most Influential Banned Book

The general public have voted Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) the most influential banned book, as part of Academic Book Week (4-9 March 2019).


Considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology, On the Origin of Species introduced the idea of ‘natural selection’ and speciation. On the Origin of Species was also chosen as the most influential academic book of all time during the inaugural Academic Book Week in 2015.

The book was first banned in 1859 by the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, where Darwin had been a student. In 1925, Tennessee banned the teaching of the theory of evolution in schools; the law remained in force until 1967. The book was also banned in Yugoslavia in 1935 and in Greece in 1937.


The full shortlist, selected by academic booksellers across the UK and Ireland, and in association with Index on Censorship is below.