A Universal History of the Destruction of Books Summary and Reviews

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books

From Ancient Sumer to Modern-day Iraq

by Fernando Baez

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez X
A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez
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Book Summary

A best-seller in Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil: the first-ever world history of the destruction of books.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"He sometimes overwhelms the reader with authors, titles and statistics. Still, this marvelously informative, sometimes depressing, occasionally entertaining work should appeal to bibliophiles." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. A sobering reminder of just how deep-seated is the instinct to destroy other people's truths." - Kirkus Reviews.

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More Information

Fernando Báez is the author of The History of the Ancient Library of Alexandria, The Cultural Destruction of Iraq, and The Cambridge Translator, a novel. He lives in Venezuela. Alfred MacAdam is the translator of Mario Vargas Llosa, Alejo Carpentier, Julio Cortázar, and Carlos Fuentes. He teaches at Barnard College.

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