On The Burning Of Books: How Flames Fail To Destroy The Written Word by Kenneth BakerOn The Burning Of Books: How Flames Fail To Destroy The Written Word by Kenneth Baker

On The Burning Of Books: How Flames Fail To Destroy The Written Word

byKenneth Baker

Hardcover | August 15, 2016

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The burning of a book is recognizably powerful action—a fiery rejection of an ideology or a declaration of a text’s moral offense. But, since the invention of the printing press in the sixteenth century, the act of burning a book has become mostly symbolic—very rarely can a book’s content be expunged from the written record. In this heavily illustrated book, Kenneth Baker offers an enlightening history of the practice of book burning, often by desperate regimes, dictators, and religious fanatics eager to suppress revolutionaries, warn dissenters, or rally the faithful.

In On the Burning of Books, Baker explores famous moments throughout history when books have been burnt for political, religious, or personal reasons. Included among his investigations are stories from ancient China to the Nazis, from George Orwell’s Animal Farm to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, from Chairman Mao to the Spanish destruction of the Aztec civilization. Baker describes Samuel Pepys burning an erotic novel, and the personal fires of Lord Byron’s memoirs, Dickens’s letters, Hardy’s poems, and Philip Larkin’s diaries. Alongside these many examples are chapters on accidental book burning—and even lucky escapes.

A book that celebrates the authority and influence of the written word by examining many instances of society’s attempt to suppress it, On the Burning of Books will be a work to be cherished—and kept far from flame.
Kenneth Baker, Baron Baker of Dorking, is a British politician and a former Conservative MP, having served in the cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and as Home Secretary. His previous books include George III: A Life in Caricature and George IV: A Life in Caricature.  
Title:On The Burning Of Books: How Flames Fail To Destroy The Written WordFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.5 × 6.5 × 1.1 inPublished:August 15, 2016Publisher:Unicorn Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1910787116

ISBN - 13:9781910787113


Table of Contents

Political Burning
Religious Burning
War Burning
Personal Burning
Accidental Burning
Royal Burning
Lucky Escapes

Editorial Reviews

"There are many studies in print about book burning and censorship, but none as even tempered and sanguine as Baker’s On the Burning of Books. Its brisk accounts and handsome design signify the bibliophile’s last laugh and stylish confidence that books ultimately prevail. Furthermore, he widens his lens to include a range of motives for burning – that is, while every book destroyed is a book unloved, some burners act for reasons other than ideological cleansing. Baker’s pleasure in narrating the anecdotes is his book’s secret sauce. On the Burning of Books is gorgeous, its photography of authors and artifacts generously displayed."