27/08/2013 08:22 BST | Updated 25/10/2013 06:12 BST

Book Review: You Can't Read This Book by Nick Cohen

The title 'You Can't Read this Book' should really be changed to 'Don't Read this Book, if you don't Enjoy Constantly Reading the Name Salem Rushdie'. The controversial author is mentioned almost to the point that you might make up your own conspiracy theory...

Cohen's politically charged book of societies many censorships, is actually a marketing tool to promote a reprint of the Satanic Verses?

With this odd ilk of paranoia, that I've clearly evoked from the books rather glorious content, Cohen has indeed produced a page turner of epic proportions and thus is finally the political read I've been waiting for.


The problem I've found with such political books in the past, is that the authors often let their own personal feelings get in the way of the presented arguments they intend to tackle. Cohen's approach to each of his highly researched arguments is perhaps the best display of non-politically swung objective writing since Christopher Hitchens, to which the book is rather poignantly dedicated.

Each of the many stories of the various abuses and disguised tact, from those that censor within an apparent free speech society, Cohen has kindly broken down for us readers, into three rather sexy core arenas; God, Money and State.


The first half of the book is dominated by various wonderful stories, which as I mentioned in the first paragraph, all seem to obit around the storm that Rushdie's book created. Yet all the various facts presented by Cohen, successfully bring to light the many elements of how religion suppresses free speech. Even to the extent of those whom wish to poke fun of such religions, as Rushdie had been accused of ever since his book went to print in the late 80s.

Unlike most atheists, Cohen is neither preachy nor one sided with the presented arguments. Instead he allows his clever prose to educate and inform allowing the reader to make up their own mind whether they be swinging to the right or the left.


Here we find Cohen taking on big business and that over analysed bore fest of the credit crunch, which helped to expose so many hidden smugheads with a new excuse for not spending any money, wielding that god awful phrase "the current climate".

All of the majorly outrageous perversions of justice are covered and thanks to Cohen's impeccable research, you'll find that hours will simply slip away as fast as your make believe civil liberties.

The most interesting point (which I might add, there are an abundance) is that the moment you enter your place of work, you no longer reside within a governed democracy, but instead are enslaved to a systematic dictatorship that tells you when to eat, where to piss and what clothes to wear. Woe betide if you dare blow the whistle on their "business practices"! The secret police faction, known lovingly as "Human Resources" will have you bagged, sacked and broke quicker than the overweight security guard can throw your "unorthodox ass" out of the building!


Of course you couldn't write a book about censorship without mentioning Wikileaks! Cohen doesn't dwell too much on this, which personally, I found to be rather thankful. However, other readers may very well want to know more about such recent scandals, which is another plus for the book, as it galvanises you to do your own research into certain stories that may fascinate.

Nick's book is perhaps one of the best I've read all year. Inside you'll find his research will both disgust and enlighten; you might even cry, you may throw up, but you certainly won't be cheerful.

Cohen has successfully lifted the veil on the myth of free speech and as a result, he's perfectly revealed all the mendacity of those that claim we have it.

Nick Cohen's book is published by Forth Estate and is available in paperback from Amazon and all good bookshops.