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Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack [9781529378757]

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Opening with the notorious bonfires of 'un-German' and Jewish literature in 1933 that offered such a clear signal of Nazi intentions, Burning the Books takes us on a 3000-year journey through the destruction of knowledge and the fight against all the odds to preserve it.

Richard Ovenden, director of the world-famous Bodleian Library, explains how attacks on libraries and archives have been a feature of history since ancient times but have increased in frequency and intensity during the modern era. Libraries are far more than stores of literature, through preserving the legal documents such as Magna Carta and records of citizenship, they also support the rule of law and the rights of citizens. Today, the knowledge they hold on behalf of society is under attack as never before. In this fascinating book, he explores everything from what really happened to the Great Library of Alexandria to the Windrush papers, from Donald Trump's deleting embarrassing tweets to John Murray's burning of Byron's memoirs in the name of censorship.

At once a powerful history of civilisation and a manifesto for the vital importance of physical libraries in our increasingly digital age, Burning the Books is also a very human story animated by an unlikely cast of adventurers, self-taught archaeologists, poets, freedom-fighters -- and, of course, librarians and the heroic lengths they will go to preserve and rescue knowledge, ensuring that civilisation survives. From the rediscovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the desert, hidden from the Romans and lost for almost 2000 years to the medieval manuscript that inspired William Morris, the knowledge of the past still has so many valuable lessons to teach us and we ignore it at our peril.


AUTHOR: Richard Ovenden OBE is the 28th Bodley's Librarian (since the post was set up in 1599) at the Bodelian Library in Oxford. Since 1987 he has worked in a number of important archives and libraries, including the House of Lords Library, the National Library of Scotland (as a Curator of Rare Books) and in the University of Edinburgh, where he was Director of Collections. He is an Honorary Fellow of St Hugh's College, Oxford and holds a Professorial Fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford. His writing has been frequently published in major newspapers and online platforms.
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SKU:
9781529378757
ISBN13:
9781529378757
Availability:
Delivery usually in 2-6 working days.
Author:
Richard Ovenden
Publisher:
John Murray Publishers Ltd
Publication:
03-Sep-2020
Format:
Hardback
Pages:
320
Stock Status:
In stock
Weight:
512 Grams
  • 5
    Highly recommend for any book lovers

    Posted by Nora on 19th Apr 2021

    I’ve seen great reviews on this book before my purchase and it indeed lived up my expectations. An attack on knowledge has existed since our civilisation began and I believe it is something we need to be aware of more than ever as knowledge and information became misguidedly interchangeable. You’ll have more appreciation and respect for books and the people who have protected them for us in the past.