An intriguing book on the subject of libraries. The author first talks about the history of libraries, in Alexandria, China, Rome, and of course England and the US. He talks about types: should a library be "universal" or dedicated for a purpose? Then he talks about the opposite, the deliberate hiding or destruction of books in Imperial China, Nazi Germany, and the pre-Civil-Rights south. An especially interesting section is on the "geniza", a sort of junkyard of old books used in societies where the destruction of a book was taboo; a thousand-year-old geniza can yield vast information for a 21st century archaeologist.
My only complaint is that the book is not comprehensive: the author focuses on topics that interest him. Thus a long section on China but nothing concerning India or Japan. He likewise tells us a lot about a control freak named Melvil Dewey ( of Dewey-Decimal fame) but says nothing about Andrew Carnegie's sponsoring of public libraries. The things he does talk about are fascinating.
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: VINTAGE ARROW - MASS MARKET; 1 edition (1 December 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780099437079
- ISBN-13: 978-0099437079
- ASIN: 0099437074
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 322 g
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