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Here are the books they won’t let Chelsea Manning read in prison

Chelsea Manning is currently facing solitary confinement for infractions like having expired toothpaste in her cell.


William Turton


Posted on Aug 15, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 3:55 am CDT

Chelsea Manning, the military whistleblower who is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking nearly 750,000 military and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, is now facing “indefinite” solitary confinement. 

The reason? Having expired toothpaste in her cell as well as the Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair issue that she received via the prison mail system. The list of books comes from a “Evidence/Property Custody Document” posted on Manning’s official Twitter account. 

“Prisons are very controlled environments and they try to keep them very controlled and sometimes in that control they really go too far, and I think that this is going too far,” Manning’s lead attorney Nancy Hollander told the Associated Press. “… [These events] could impinge on her free speech rights and be an attempt to silence her.”

Here are the books authorities won’t let Manning read at Fort Leavenworth Military Prison:

  1. The 7 Habits on the Inside: A white paper on changing the incarceration system so that convicted criminals don’t re-offend after they are released from prison
  2. The Advocate: A magazine that covers “Gay News, LGBT Rights, Politics, Entertainment”
  3. OUT: A magazine that covers “Gay & Lesbian Travel, Fashion, Culture, and Politics”
  4. Vanity Fair, July 2015 Issue: The now-famous Vanity Fair issue that featured Caitlyn Jenner on the cover
  5. Cosmopolitan: A magazine that “targets contemporary women, featuring beauty, fashion, career and sex advice.” Manning, a transgender woman, gave Cosmo her first interview from behind bars, during which she spoke about her transition to living as a woman in prison
  6. Exploring Art: A book that puts art in the context of a wide range of other issues, from religion to sexuality
  7. The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: The book version of the Senate’s report on the torture of terrorism suspects
  8. Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential: A book that explores what makes us drawn to certain people and “how we can learn to  win the admiration, respect, and affection we desire”
  9. Justice For Hedgehogs: A contemporary philosophical work that explores the deep meanings of morality, justice, and life
  10. A Critique of Adjudication: A renowned text that explores how politics influences criminal justice and how judicial rulings affect politics
  11. Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy : The Many Faces of Anonymous: Known as the preeminent book on the Anonymous hacktivist collective
  12. Data and Goliath: An examination of online data collection, privacy, and cybersecurity
  13. A Matter of Principle: A memoire that serves as a scathing critique of the criminal-justice system
  14. Taking Rights Seriously: An examination of the U.S. judicial system that offers and alternative process for adjudication
  15. Law’s Empire: An exploration of America’s legal system that agues for new legal theory
  16. America, A Narrative History: A history of the United States 
  17. Transgender Studies Quarterly, Making Transgender Count: A scholarly journal that explores transgender issues
  18. A Safe Girl to Love: A novel that features a transgender main character
  19. The Whiskey Rebellion: A history of the “the radical eighteenth-century people’s movement, long ignored by historians, that contributed decisively to the establishment of federal authority”
  20. The Artificial River: An examination of the effects the Erie Canal had on society
  21. I am Malala: The tale of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, who was shot in the head by a Taliban militant for demanding the right of girls to receive an education

Photo via rskspyderman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Aug 15, 2015, 2:47 pm CDT