A Universal History of the Destruction of Books

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books

From Ancient Sumer to Modern-day Iraq

Book - 2008
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A product of 10 years' research and support from leading American and European universities, A Universal History of the Destruction of Books traces the tragic story which encapsulates: the smashed tablets of ancient Sumer; the widespread looting of libraries in post-war Iraq; the levelling of the Library of Alexandria; the burning of books by Crusaders and Nazis; and censorship against authors. With diligence and grace, Baez mounts a compelling investigation into the motives behind such destruction and the perverse 'anti-creationism' which it embodies.
Publisher: New York : Atlas & Co., c2008.
ISBN: 9781934633014
Branch Call Number: 027.009 BAEZ
Characteristics: xii, 354 p., [12] p. of plates : ill., map ; 19 cm.


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Book burning and tablet crushing from ancient to modern times.

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Sep 10, 2018

This book and author does a marvelous job of covering events of the destruction of knowledge and human history and memory (from people or nature). Báez does not only cover the facts; he provides insight into human nature as well. Insight into the motivations and hearts of those who destroy (or attempt to destroy) timeless vessels of history and art, and those who save and protect it. The numbers of books and libraries destroyed from certain time periods documented in this book are astounding. Some of the things I learned in this book surprised me. For those who appreciate the significance of books and other documents (containing history, art, memory, enlightening material) this book may make you tear up like I did. This book has influenced my perspective of humanity and civilization. I highly recommend this book.

Jul 06, 2018

An interesting, well-written overview of an unusual subject. The book covers the destruction of books from ancient times, from the burning of libraries during military conquests, to the practice of destroying "heretical" or "heathen" literature, to selective book-burning by various dictatorships, more or less in chronological order. Also includes a short chapter on book-burning in fiction.

Oct 25, 2017

Interesting history of the maddening and depressing tendency of humans to destroy the cultures of other humans, and a warning against our own times when we’re sliding into the same barbarity. Unfortunately the translation (from Spanish) is nearly unreadable; there are so many unfinished sentences, mixed pronouns, and literally-translated idioms (meaningless in a different language) that I gave up about half-way through.

May 09, 2017

This work made me wonder what fascinating history is lost forever...

WVMLStaffPicks Aug 30, 2014

Books, libraries and culture are intertwined in a manner which creates a fascinating narrative. The scope might not be universal, but the breadth of the societies covered in the book is wide. While the topic of bibliocasts can be depressing, it is also important for understanding human culture. Whether you are a fan of general history or just a bibliophile, this book is an excellent read!


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