• The Hub

    News, Notes, Talk

    The young white supremacist sentenced to read the classics has now been sentenced to actual jail.


    January 19, 2022, 3:01pm

    Bad news for all who believe books make us more empathetic: the young man who was sentenced to read more Jane Austen and Shakespeare after being charged with possessing a bomb-making manual, as well as hundreds of white supremacist, Neo-Nazi materials, has been given actual jail time after his case was appealed by the government.

    Last August, 21-year-old Ben John was given a suspended sentence and ordered by a judge to read classic literature, including Pride and Prejudice, Twelfth Night, and A Tale of Two Cities; he was also given a five-year Serious Crime Prevention Order requiring him to stay in touch with the police to let them monitor his Internet usage, as well as completion of a mandatory 30-day intervention program. Said Judge Timothy Spencer to Ben John, “I will test you [on what you have read] and if I think you are bullshitting you will suffer.”

    In his six-month followup, John reported to Judge Spencer: “I enjoyed Shakespeare more than I did Jane Austen but I still enjoyed Jane Austen by a degree.” Unfortunately, according to solicitor general Alex Chalk, he also continued to like Nazi-related content online after his suspended sentence was passed. John has now been jailed for two years.

  • Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

    For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.

    %d bloggers like this: