A fresh perspective on censorship emerges in this elegant history by a superb conjurer of the past. With his uncanny ability to spark life in the past, Robert Darnton re-creates three historical worlds in which censorship shaped literary expression. In 18th-century France, censors navigated the intricacies of royal privilege in a working collaboration with authors and booksellers on the making of literature. Absolutism operating through negotiation yielded both suppression and protection of some of the great works of the Enlightenment. In 19th-century India, the efforts of the British Raj to control "native" literature gave voice to an Indian opposition that exposed the tensions between Britain's liberal principles and imperial power. And in 20th-century East Germany, the Communist Party's attempt to engineer literature actually yielded a range of outcomes from brutal repression to the complex negotiation behind some of the best-known works by German authors. Censorship emerges not as a simple repression that is everywhere the same but a melding of power and culture grounded in history.