A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez
From Ancient Sumer to Modern-day Iraq

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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.

About Fernando Baez

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Fernando Baez 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.
Published September 15, 2008 by Atlas & Co.. 272 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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This book begins and ends with a description of the looting of books, manuscripts and artworks in Iraq’s National Library in 2003, a destruction abetted, says Báez, by the inaction of American leaders.

Jun 09 2008 | Read Full Review of A Universal History of the De...

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