Simply a stunning educational read packed full of information written beautifully and very thought provoking, how many books have we lost over the centuries ? will the digital world kill the printed word is one of the questions asked, along with descriptions of how libraries have been destroyed and the worlds heritage lost. It is simply a superb book.
This is a scholarly piece of writing but it is also highly readable. I would recommend it to anyone not only interested in books but also in the role they play as cultural artefacts; and as with other artefacts, such as paintings and sculpture, so many books have been lost or destroyed over the centuries. But perhaps the destruction of books has come to represent something far more symbolic of man's ability to reject the thinking and beliefs of those who hold alternative perspectives on, for instance, religion, politics, art and life more generally. I was reminded of both fictional accounts of the destruction of books (Ray Bradbury's 'Farenheight 451') and reality (the burning of books in Germany in the 1930s) when I first read about this book. Fernando Baez provides a wealth of examples and in a sense the book is tinged with sadness at so much loss. When I had finished I was disappointed to discover that the author's earlier book on the library in Alexandria does not appear to have been published in English. I guess I'll have to wait.