Bans books and brutal attacks against learning | Books
As terrible and terrifying to read in your article on the prohibition of books in American schools and elsewhere, Qin Shi Huang, the Chinese emperor who made bury alive academics and burn books to control how the history will remember him ( “It is a cultural war that is totally out of control ‘: the authors whose books are banned in US schools, March 22).
Qin, of course, played an important role in the development of the Great Wall of China. He clearly wanted this to be considered a resounding success, especially after the long years “to the wall”. He obviously did not want many pesky researchers stressed that the wall was colossally expensive, had virtually no benefit and was a huge barrier to trade.
The concerns and anxieties endured powerful, but fortunately the current leadership does not have quite the same scope to control how are written their own stories.
Your article reminded me of the memories of the mid-1970s, when I was a school psychologist in West Virginia. New books were purchased every three years for use in secondary schools. For the first time, books of several black authors were included. In the Bible Belt of America, this has led to protests, and we were faced with aggressive protesters when we arrived at work. I even found a bullet hole in the window of my office. My children were in a progressive school and teachers have asked them to bring a book to read which was read by a parent. My boys loved A Clockwork Orange, I refused to read!
West Bay, Dorset
Anyone interested in more information on banned and destroyed books might appreciate Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack Richard Ovenden. He takes the reader clay tablets and papyrus broken burned today in an accessible and engaging way.