The book entitled E for Ecstasy, by Nicholas Saunders, is a book of history, information, and stories about the illegal drug ecstasy. The author presents a vast amount of information about many aspects of the drug such as the history of the invention of the drug, information about how the drug effects people in different ways, positive reasons to use the drug, side effects and negative reasons to use the drug, and an overview of how the drug has been accepted into various societal groups.
A shipment of this book, which was published in England in 1994, was ceased by Australian customs agents in the spring of 1994 and has been banned in Australia ever since. The ban on this book is currently still in place and being upheld by the Australian government due to the way the book portrays the drug ecstasy in a primarily positive way. According to the author of the book, even anti-drug groups are opposed to the ban because they believe both sides of the story should be heard.
As I read this book, at first I felt a temptation to try ecstasy due to the positive way in which the drug was described. After reading further into the text, however, much more detailed information about the drug is brought fourth. For example, the book associates use of ecstasy with the cultures of all kinds of illegal drugs. In my opinion, the ban should be lifted because the book does not just give the positive information about this drug. While the book does side towards the use of the drug, it does provide all kinds of interesting information and education including negative data about the drug. If information about drugs is kept in the dark, people will be tempted to seek information in potentially harmful ways. If information flows freely, however, people can usually be trusted to make smart choices.
The latest twist to this otherwise traditional story is that the entire text of the book is now available on the Internet, as is the text of many other banned books. E is for Ecstasy can be found at: http://hyperreal.com/drugs/e4x/ While it is ironic that the citizens of Australia can now gain electronic access to this banned book, the more important issue is one of the Internet's ability to give people world wide access to anything. This is just one more example of electronic information flowing into a country where it not allowed. Because of the ease at which banned books can now be obtained anywhere, the future of what we now know as banned books has been forever altered.