Tuesday, December 30, 2008
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 by Fernando Baez (Author), Alfred MacAdam (Translator) Atlas & Co. (September 15, 2008).
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 censorship against authors past and present.
With diligence and grace, Báez 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," Báez 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.