Is Michael Gove, Britain's education minister and Conservative member of Parliament, suspicious of the political agenda of certain members of the American literati?
Works by John Steinbeck, Harper Lee and Arthur Miller have long been a part of the British secondary school curriculum, with British students (like many of their American counterparts), required to read their works for the General Certificate of Secondary Education test. Now Gove, who is said to "dislike" Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” especially, has removed that work from a key standardized test for high school students, along with Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and Miller’s “The Crucible.”
The books have been replaced by works by British authors.
“Gove and his colleagues at the Department for Education are fantasising about a nation unencumbered by racial or cultural difference, or calls for greater social and economic equality,” Anna Hartnell wrote in the Guardian. She called the decision parochial and regressive.
"The Crucible," set in 17th century Massachusetts, is an allegory about 20th century McCarthyism--Miller himself was later called before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and convicted of "contempt of Congress" for refusing to "name names."
Reacting to the growing furor, Gove wrote an op-ed in The Telegraph on Monday responding to the "fiction" that he had "banned" the three books.