By Lucien X. Polastron
A ancient survey of the destruction of data from old Babylon and China to trendy instances
• comprises the 3 separate destructions of the Library of Alexandria in addition to many both major collections all over the world
• Examines the reasons of violence directed at repositories of data
• appears to be like on the risks posed by means of digitalization of books to the unfastened availability of information within the future
Hebrew, Hindu, Nordic, and Islamic traditions percentage the assumption of an enormous library present earlier than the construction of the realm. The Vedas say that this library predated the creator’s construction of himself. but, virtually as outdated because the notion of the library is the urge to smash it. the explanations pointed out for this are many: trained everyone is a lot more durable to control, and a few proclaim that in simple terms the illiterate can store the area. There also are nice destructions caused by means of climate, worms, or even the paranoia of the library’s proprietor.
Books on Fire strains the background of this perpetual destruction from the burning of the good library of Alexandria (on 3 separate events) and the libraries of the chinese language Qing Dynasty to extra sleek catastrophic losses similar to these witnessed in Nazi-occupied Europe and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. the writer examines the factors for those mess ups, the treasures which have been misplaced, and the place the surviving books, if any, have ended up. His research additionally finds a brand new probability dealing with libraries this present day with the digitalization of books threatening either the life of the actual paper ebook and the very thought of studying at no cost. The promise of an absolute library provided by means of the pc may prove to equivalent the worst nightmares of Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell.
Books on Fire bought the 2004 Société des Gens de Lettres Prize for Nonfiction/History in Paris.