Book Blurbs (Books on Fire by Lucien X. Polastron)

Books on Fire: The Destruction of Libraries throughout History (2004) is a historical overview of book burning and books written by Lucien X. Polastron (1944- ). The history begins with explanations of archaeological digsites and texts found that suggests the literary life of the ancient times in places like Alexandria, and Ninevah. The text then follows the development of books from clay tablets, to papyrus and paper and the developments of the printing press all the while maintaining a list of the destruction and censorship occuring in the various regions. Polastron concludes with a section on the modern era and poses a horrifying thought, “Based on how things have passed up to now, I would say the great electronic wave will more likely go toward intellectual simplification–meaning, mainly, the shortening of paragraphs, phrases and words. It will end with summarizing, as Photius did, the books that people do not have the time to read or the means to understand” (287-288).


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