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On the Burning of Books

How Flames Fail to Destroy the Written Word

Product Details
Hardback (BB)
09 Jun 2016
Unicorn Press
In this revealingly illustrated book, the political sage Lord Baker records the many times throughout history when books have been burnt for political, religious, or personal reasons. Ranging politically from Ancient China to the Nazis, from Animal Farm to Chairman Mao; religiously, from the Spanish destruction of the Aztec civilisation to Bloody Mary, from Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses to bibles in Islamist strongholds today; personally, from Samuel Pepys burning an erotic novel and Lord Byron’s memoirs to Dickens’s letters, Hardy’s poems, Burton’s translations, and Philip Larkin’s diaries. Alongside these telling examples are chapters on burning in war, accidental burning, and lucky escapes. Baker reveals that while books, diaries and letters can be burnt, as a result of the invention of the printing press in the sixteenth century, very rarely can their content be expunged from the written record in history – the ‘delete’ button does not delete. Book burning today survives as a symbol, usually by desperate regimes, dictators and religious
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