"Our history is revealed as much by what we destroy as by what we preserve. From the smashed tablets of Sumer to the looting of libraries in postwar Iraq, from the sack of Jerusalem in 1099 to the bombardment of Sarajevo in the 1990s, the saga of the destruction of books reveals a truth known by conquerors and conquered alike: without books, there is no memory, and without memory, a culture cannot exist." "With diligence, grace, and at times wry humor, Fernando Baez investigates the motives behind the destruction of books, interpreting violence against writing as a perverse anti-creation. His findings ultimately attest to the lasting power of books as the great human repository of knowledge, interpretation, and memory - fragile yet vital bulwarks against the intransigence and barbarity of every age."--BOOK JACKET.