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Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century

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Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century

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    Available in PDF Format | Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century.pdf | English
    Rebecca Knuth(Author)
Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings, declared German poet Heinrich Heine. This book identifies the regime-sponsored, ideologically driven, and systemic destruction of books and libraries in the 20th century that often served as a prelude or accompaniment to the massive human tragedies that have characterized a most violent century. Using case studies of libricide committed by Nazis, Serbs in Bosnia, Iraqis in Kuwait, Maoists during the Cultural Revolution in China, and Chinese Communists in Tibet, Knuth argues that the destruction of books and libraries by authoritarian regimes was sparked by the same impulses toward negation that provoked acts of genocide or ethnocide. Readers will learn why some people-even those not subject to authoritarian regimes-consider the destruction of books a positive process. Knuth promotes understanding of the reasons behind extremism and patterns of cultural terrorism, and concludes that what is at stake with libricide is nothing less than the preservation and continuation of the common cultural heritage of the world. Anyone committed to freedom of expression and humanistic values will embrace this passionate and valuable book.

"Knuth's study should be on every librarian's reading list."-American Libraries"Argues that government-authorized book-burning often precedes or accompanies genocide, since the obliteration of a people cannot be accomplished without destroying its printed history."-C&RL News"Knuth really brings her point home. Her provocative study is recommended for professional reading collections, library schools, and educated general readers interested in intellectual freedom."-Library Journal"The subject matter and details presented in the case studies are both compelling on their own and skillfully presented in a narrative that is engaging and readable....Libricide is obviously an important phenomenon."-College & Research Libraries"Lurking behind the academic prose of this historical survey is a compelling, provocative analysis of 'libricide, ' the systematic destruction or robbery of books and other cultural artifacts as part of an ideological campaign against a group or nation....Knuth's argument is powerfully drawn."-Publishers Weekly"After summarily disposing in her first few pages of the longer history of desultory library destruction, she goes into detailed accounts of recent purposeful library depredations (those of the last three-score years or so) involving ideology-driven, regime-sponsored, systematic destruction of book collections intended to bring about the suppression of an entire populace, culture, and/or political will. Hers is a sobering story indeed....Although this is not a pleasant book to read, Knuth is a careful scholar and an engaging writer. Of the three recent books on this same general theme read by this reviewer, hers is easily the most thorough and compelling. It is comprehensively researched, fully documented, and well annotated."-Libraries & Culture?Knuth's study should be on every librarian's reading list.?-American Libraries?Argues that government-authorized book-burning often precedes or accompanies genocide, since the obliteration of a people cannot be accomplished without destroying its printed history.?-C&RL News?Knuth really brings her point home. Her provocative study is recommended for professional reading collections, library schools, and educated general readers interested in intellectual freedom.?-Library Journal?The subject matter and details presented in the case studies are both compelling on their own and skillfully presented in a narrative that is engaging and readable....Libricide is obviously an important phenomenon.?-College & Research Libraries?Lurking behind the academic prose of this historical survey is a compelling, provocative analysis of 'libricide, ' the systematic destruction or robbery of books and other cultural artifacts as part of an ideological campaign against a group or nation....Knuth's argument is powerfully drawn.?-Publishers Weekly?Knuth expertly straddles the disciplines of political history, political philosophy, sociology and of course, library and information science, to deliver a piece of work that would be of interest to students and scholars rooted in any of these aforementioned disciplines....[a] truly indispensable resource. Not only is Libricide indispenable, it is seminal.?-Library Review?After summarily disposing in her first few pages of the longer history of desultory library destruction, she goes into detailed accounts of recent purposeful library depredations (those of the last three-score years or so) involving ideology-driven, regime-sponsored, systematic destruction of book collections intended to bring about the suppression of an entire populace, culture, and/or political will. Hers is a sobering story indeed....Although this is not a pleasant book to read, Knuth is a careful scholar and an engaging writer. Of the three recent books on this same general theme read by this reviewer, hers is easily the most thorough and compelling. It is comprehensively researched, fully documented, and well annotated.?-Libraries & Culture"Knuth expertly straddles the disciplines of political history, political philosophy, sociology and of course, library and information science, to deliver a piece of work that would be of interest to students and scholars rooted in any of these aforementioned disciplines....[a] truly indispensable resource. Not only is Libricide indispenable, it is seminal."-Library Review

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Book details

  • PDF | 294 pages
  • Rebecca Knuth(Author)
  • Praeger; Annotated edition edition (30 July 2003)
  • English
  • 2
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy
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Review Text

  • By mocata on 15 February 2014

    This book reads like a re-written PhD thesis. It has unnecessarily obscure academic wording. It is also left-wing, and gives the impression of having a political axe to grind. I was hoping to read more about the Great Library at Alexandria and what may have been lost during the destruction of the monasteries by Henry VIII, but it's mostly about communist and fascist ideology in the 20th century. I gave up before the end.

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