Nov 1, 2022

Burning The Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack

Burning The Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack

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Burning The Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack audiobook

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Review #1

Burning The Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack audiobook free

3 stars – I liked it

In this book, Richard Ovenden, Director of the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford, describes the deliberate destruction of knowledge held in libraries and archives from ancient Alexandria till now. While I expected this book to only talk about the destruction throughout history, the title is slightly misleading. This book spends more time discussing the preservation and organization of collections and how they can be at risk using the destruction of certain libraries and collections as examples, especially cultural documents to minority groups.

While the title is misleading, I did learn a lot of interesting facts about the destruction of libraries and collections that, most of which, were new to me. As an archivist myself I am always fascinated by why collections were destroyed and what can be done to prevent that from happening to collections now. This book also spends a lot of time discussing digital archiving and the problems related to it, which while interesting, it felt was unnecessary for this book because this book should have been just about destruction of collections.

The biggest issue with this book though was the writing style. It was chaotic. Some chapters felt all over the place with information about different collections while trying to get the point of that chapter across. This made it hard at times to understand how it all related together and what the point of some chapters really were. Also I know the author is Director of the Bodleian but it felt like he used any excuse to reference it and its collections throughout this book.

So while I did learn a lot from this book, it wasnt exactly a fun read. I dont regret reading it, I did learn a lot like I said, I just think the title of this book is misleading and people need to be prepared for that.


Review #2

Burning The Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack audiobook streamming online

Burning the Books is an engrossing history of an appalling practice– the willful destruction of the records and the knowledge that can help humanity better understand itself. In deftly-told historical vignettes, Ovenden illustrates the both the motives and the methods of those who would try to erase inconvenient elements of the past. And he makes a passionate– and effective– argument for authentic archiving, library conservation, and access. As he demonstrates in a way all-too-relevant to day, when victors (re-)write history, all of us are losers.


Review #3

Audiobook Burning The Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack by Richard Ovenden

Burning the Books is a history of the deliberate destruction of knowledge. Since writing was first developed, the records of human existence have become part of the birthright and legacy of humanity – its deliberate destruction is a crime against humanity. And this is not just the literal burning of books, as the Nazis did, but even the tampering and distortion of records, as corrupt regimes including the Trump administration, have done. This book catalogs the importance of libraries, archives, and other such records to the human race, and the perils we’re now facing in the age of digitization and the challenges of storing, sorting, and using vast amounts of digital data.


Review #4

Audio Burning The Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack narrated by Simon Slater

I do not find the authors detail tedious as some other reviews have stated. It is all very interesting to me. And a word to the alert, as to what the current atmosphere is in reference to books and free speech. A timely book that aught to be read and discussed in school.


Review #5

Free audio Burning The Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack – in the audio player below

Discussed many variation of information destruction, but strikingly leaves out any discussion of cancel culture. Doesn’t discuss powerful movement to eliminate classic literature (e.g., To Kill a Mockingbird). Refusal of legitimate scientific work, etc.


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