A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern-day Iraq

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern-day Iraq


By (author) Fernando Baez

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  • Publisher: Atlas & Co
  • Format: Paperback | 354 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 184mm x 26mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 18 November 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1934633240
  • ISBN 13: 9781934633243
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 505,347

Product description

A product of ten years of research and support from leading American and European universities, A Universal History of the Destruction of Books traces a tragic story: the smashed tablets of ancient Sumer, the widespread looting of libraries in post-war Iraq, the leveling of the Library of Alexandria, book burnings by Crusaders and Nazis, and suppressive censorship against authors past and present. With diligence and grace, Baez mounts a compelling investigation into the motives behind the destruction of books, reading man s violence against writing as a perverse anti-creation. By destroying, Baez argues, man ratifies this ritual of permanence, purification and consecration; by destroying, man brings to the surface a behavior originating in the depth of his personality. His findings ultimately attest to the lasting power of books as the great human repository of knowledge and memory, fragile yet vital bulwarks against the intransigence and barbarity of every age.

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Review quote

Starred Review. [A] horrific chronicle of the centuries-long assault on human memory. . . . A sobering reminder of just how deep-seated is the instinct to destroy other people s truths.