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

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 - 277 pages
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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.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dono421846 - LibraryThing

Instructive on many levels: Describes not only the impact of conflicts on library collections, but provides extremely informative backgrounds for those conflicts, so that we understand why the aggressors would target libraries as one means to achieve their political goals. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hadden - LibraryThing

Excellent book on the history fo the destruction of libraries. Read full review

Contents

Books Libraries and the Phenomenon of Ethnocide
1
The Evolution and Functions of Libraries
19
A Theoretical Framework for Libricide
49
Nazi Germany Racism and Nationalism
75
Greater Serbia
105
Iraq Kuwait and the Politics of Thuggery
135
Chinas Cultural Revolution
163
Tibet A Culture in Jeopardy
197
The Collision of Ideas
233
Index
253
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

REBECCA KNUTH is Chair of the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii, where she is also Associate Professor.

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