Thursday, June 23, 2011
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I was recently contacted by Tom McCulloch about a book burning in Mildura (Victoria) in 1978. He tells me that following the Mildura Sculpture Triennial of that year he had an Exhibition Exposition printed which included illustrations of Nick Spill’s photo “Art in the Hands of Capitalism”, which was apparently the trigger for the City Council to declare the book in breach of its ban on ‘nudity, pornography, obscenity and blood-letting’ in the Triennial. Tom says that the photo shows Nick and his girlfriend simulating sex in a rather satirical, humorous way.’
‘Much more scandalous,’ Tom continues, ‘was the Book’s inclusion of letters to the Council from artist Peter Tyndall, in which he put some logical questions about the Council’s right to ban artists from experimenting with boundaries, etc.’ The incident was widely reported in 1978 and the visiting German artist Klaus Rinke later made this burning part of his exhibit at the Art Gallery of NSW in the Biennale of Sydney.
Recently some facsimile copies were made and sold at the Mildura Arts Centre, and Tom also spoke at a recent symposium in Mildura, where his paper was received enthusiastically; the remaining copies of the reproduced book sold out at the coffee break.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
He also found time to be an occasional writer, and his Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (1792) is a charming selection of some of his pensées and poems, which unsurprisingly includes a rollicking ode ‘On Hard Drinking.' The same collection also includes the following poem 'On the Loss of Ancient Literature':
Friday, September 18, 2009
The original novel by King was released in this limited edition of 26 copies, bound in aluminium-coated asbestos cloth. Known as the "Asbestos Firestarter", it was produced in honour of the earlier asbestos-bound limited edition of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The copy-writers have had a field day with this one: "Are you diving into a smoldering novel? Browsing through some incendiary literature? Give the book-burning-bunch something to get hot about with this flaming placeholder. Wedge it snugly between the pages of your favorite edition of “Fahrenheit 451” and let this stylized flame show you quickly to your saved spot. You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them!"
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Patii, however, was punctual to his word. He, with his friends, had collected a quantity of fuel near the sea-beach; and, in the afternoon, the wood was split, and piled on a point of land in the western part of Papetoai, near the large national Marae, or temple, in which he had officiated. […]
A short time before sun-set, Patii appeared, and ordered his attendants to apply fire to the pile. This being done, he hastened to the sacred depository of the gods… When he approached the burning pile, he laid them down on the ground. They were small carved wooden images, rude imitations of the human figure; or shapeless logs of wood, covered with finely braided and curiously wrought cinet of cocoa-nut fibres, and ornamented with red feathers. […]
Patii tore off the sacred cloth in which they were enveloped, to be safe from the gaze of vulgar eyes; stripped them of their ornaments, which he cast into the fire; and then one by one threw the idols themselves into the crackling flames – sometimes pronouncing the name and pedigree of the idol, and expressing his own regret at having worshipped it – at others, calling upon the spectators to behold their inability even to help themselves. Thus were the idols which Patii, who was a powerful priest in Eimeo, had worshipped, publicly destroyed.’
Reverend William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, During a Residence of Nearly Six Years in the South Sea Islands (London, 1829)
Friday, July 3, 2009
John Williams, A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands (London, 1838)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Interestingly, Voltaire is a good example of how common the rhetoric of book burning was in the eighteenth-century. In his entry on “War” in the Dictionnaire Philosophique, he wrote:
“Wretched physicians of souls, you declaim for five quarters of an hour about some pinprick, and you say nothing about the disease that tears us into a thousand pieces! Philosophical moralists, burn all your books. So long as the whim of a few men causes thousands of our brothers to be honourably butchered, the portion of mankind devoted to heroism will be the most frightful thing in the whole of nature.”
Friday, January 30, 2009
‘By the time Paulin left school he knew he wanted to write, and when he went to Hull University to read English in 1967 it was with the express intent of later returning to Belfast for a teaching job that would allow time to write. “But I didn't get anywhere with my writing at Hull,” he explains, and describes his early unpublished work as “inchoate”. He later burnt it all. “Maybe I am not so happy about that now. It was something I did in my 20s. You go through a bad time and think ‘where am I going?’. And I thought I would just clean everything out.”’
Nicholas Wroe, The Guardian 23 March 2002
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
My thanks to Ian Morrison for his kind comments. Anyone who reads the piece will appreciate the humour of Ian's very droll contributor's note in the issue, which comments simply: 'Ian Morrison works as a librarian. The opinions expressed in this review are not necessarily those of his employer.'
Saturday, December 6, 2008
What is interesting is that the piece finishes on the forlorn note that perhaps such a robust clearing away of the bores and box-tickers might allow some unjustly overlooked books to be reconsidered (Liddle nominates David Storey, Heinrich Böll and Vladimir Voinovich).
Forlorn is right. The piece generated 91 comments online: by my count, 6 upbraided him as a monster for even suggesting a book might be burnt (“Before you go thinking about burning books read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Good book, and really makes you think.”) In fact, only 10 have taken him up on his offer to rehabilitate authors, and then usually only to defend Anthony Powell from his singapore whipping earlier on.
In the end, and excluding a few that might be thought to drift from the topic, the remainder of comments are all red-blooded calls for the bonfire, delivered with varying degrees of wit and coherence. We learn that Ian McEwan appeals to “introverted people”, that Catch 22 has “no real plot and not enough laughs”, that Arundhati Roy should just say that it is raining and then get on with it, and that Stephen King should have given up after his “accident”.
My favourite are two successive remarks by a chap in Hyderabad: the first announces “I am not for burning books. How stupid an author is or a book is pales before the enormity of the stupidity of readers who make it a hit.” This is immediately followed by his nominations: Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Although a few decades had passed, it was still early enough, apparently, to try and move copies of the well-known 'Great Books of the Western World'. One doesn't like to suggest that the publisher's are being deliberately misleading, but it must be said that the long list of authors doesn't appear to include all that many that were blacklisted by the Nazis. Marx and Freud, certainly, and I know that Spinoza was singled out as well. But at a guess, probably not Nietzsche.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Although I’ve not seen exact figures, it’s clear that this resulted in serious losses to the Library, and it’s interesting, in this light, that it is the burning of the Library which continues to have the greatest resonance. As Larry’s page shows (http://www.libraryhistorybuff.com/bibliophilately-algiers-library.htm), the burning of the Library has been commemorated across the Middle East, although it is probably fair to say that the attack is not as well known in the West.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Fair enough, but I’ve never been quite sure about the title of the poem, which seems to be suggesting that Watts (or at least his editor) would have preferred to burn more than just the works of Rochester.
I judge the Muse of lewd Desire;
Her Sons to Darkness, and her works to Fire.
In vain the Flatterers of their Wit
Now with a melting Strain, now with an heavenly Flight
Would tempt my Virtue to approve
Those gaudy Tinders of a lawless Love.
So Harlots dress: They can appear
Sweet, modest, cool, divinely Fair,
To charm a Cato’s Eye; but all within
Stench, impudence and Fire, and ugly raging Sin.
Die Flora, die in endless Shame,
Thou prostitute of blackest Fame,
Stript of thy false Array.
Ovid and all ye wilder Pens
Of modern Lust, who gild our Scenes,
Poyson the British Stage, and paint Damnation gay,
Attend your Mistress to the Dead;
When Flora dies her Imps should wait upon her Shade.
Strephon of noble Blood and Mind
(For ever shine his Name!)
As Death approach’d his Soul refin’d,
And gave his looser Sonnets to the Flame.
“Burn, burn, he cry’d with sacred Rage,
“Hell is the due of every Page,
“Hell be the Fate. (But O indulgent Heaven!
“So vile the Muse, and yet the Man forgiv’n!)
“Burn on, my Songs, for not the silver Thames
“Nor Tyber with his yellow Streams
“In endless Currents rolling to the Main
“Can e’er dilute the Poyson, or wash out the Stain.
So Moses by divine Command
Forbid the leprous House to stand,
When deep the fatal Spot was grown,
Break down the Timber and dig up the Stone.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
What’s interesting here, however, is that Porter always intended to sail into the Pacific, and was anxious that some of his crew might have guessed his intentions and leaked their suspicions in letters or journals. Hence this note, which appeared in the 1815 edition of his voyages:
“Prior to the pilots leaving us, I caused him to deliver into my possession all letters which might have been given him by the crew, apprehensive that, from some accidental cause, they might become possessed of a knowledge of our destination; they all however contained only conjectures, except one, the writer of which asserted, as he stated from good authority, that we were bound on the coast of Africa: as come of their conjectures were not far from being correct, I thought I best to destroy the whole of them, and forbid the pilot’s taking any more without my consent. To the officers who were desirous of writing to their friends, I enjoined particularly not to mention the movements of the ship in any way.”
It’s not insignificant, in this regard, to point out that it is thought his book was suppressed when it was first published.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Books tended to become shorter and smaller, and there was less empty space up for grabs -- no luxurious blank pages, for instance, and only very minor breaks between chapters. There were also a series of impromptu design logos, that publisher's placed at the head of their books: the one pictured here comes from a copy of Gertrude Stein's account of life in Vichy France, Wars I Have Seen, published by Random House in 1945. Attractively, the Random House logo is here set against the background of the famous "V for Victory" symbol.
Friday, September 19, 2008
This led to the creation of the 'Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives' office (MFAA), a small group of officers with backgrounds in fine arts. These officers were loosely attached to the ground forces, and would zoot about the continent armed with cameras and Baedekers, cataloguing the damage, doing makeshift repairs and, ultimately, collecting portable material into depots for possible restitution. Although few people had anticipated the size of the problem, one of the major concerns turned out to be looted books, many millions of which ended up in the American Zone of occupation.
This was partly because Frankfurt, the "capital" of the American Zone, had been destined to be the centre for Nazi research into the "Jewish Question", and thus housed an enormous number of books looted from the libraries of Europe. The biggest MFAA find was in Hungen, about 50 km north of Frankfurt, and these two photos show the before and after: books dumped in a cellar, followed by books being properly shelved and catalogued. Ultimately, these caches would lead to the creation of the Offenbach Archival Depot, but more on this another day.
These two photographs are from a contemporary article by the first professional librarian attached to the MFAA, Leslie Irlyn Poste (see his 'Books Go Home From the Wars', Library Journal 73 (1 December 1948), pp. 1699-1704).
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
"The first literary critic I can recall reading was an English journalist who called himself Solomon Eagle, and who wrote hundreds of light essays of a bookish nature for a great variety of London magazines. I bought a book of his called Books in General and read it several times. Solomon Eagle was in fact a rather lightweight English man of letters named J.C. Squire. There are at least two series of Books in General - in time I acquired a respectable shelf of the now forgotten J.C. Squire, who was decidedly not a modernist. He was a big fan of Dr Johnson and a savage enemy of James Joyce. For a time he had some power in the London literary world - he even edited the London Mercury. When a review copy of Ulysses reached him - and there weren't many review copies of Ulysses sent out - Squire flung it in the fireplace, from which, fortunately, it was saved by a young editor who had better sense than his boss."
Friday, September 5, 2008
How to do it? Here, householders are encouraged to "hand it to the dustmen weekly" (it all sounds so civilised: here you go sport: last week's Evening Standard). Otherwise, people in remote areas might like to ask the boy scouts to come around.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
White himself is known to have had a bit of a taste for literary cleansing, destroying a selection when he moved from Castle Hill to Centennial Park in the 1960s. In 1977 he cheerfully responded to a request from the National Library of Australia with the comment “I can’t let you have my papers because I don’t keep any. My manuscripts are destroyed as soon as the book is published and I put very little into notebooks, don’t keep my friends’ letters as I urge them not to keep mine.”
David Marr has been the most prominent guardian of White’s heritage, and in a 2006 article he remembered how the writer had similarly informed him not to “bother hunting for drafts and manuscripts. They’ve all gone into the pit.” As a result, it came as a bit of a shock for Marr and other keen White-fanciers, when it was revealed that an immense hoard of papers had been offered to the National Library of Australia by none other than Mobbs herself (see David Marr, ‘Patrick White’s return from the pit,’ Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November, 2006).
Although Mobbs did reveal that she had culled the papers, there were still no fewer than 33 archive boxes left, stuffed with notebooks, annotated correspondence, even his scruffy old beret. Mobbs told reporters: “I couldn’t burn them in a blue fit.”
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
A significant figure in this rebuilding was Cardinal Mercier, who lobbied hard, particularly in the United States. It was an American architect, Whitney Warren, who was awarded the design of the new library, and it was opened with some fanfare in July 1928. Although Warren’s design was applauded, one detail became a sticking point, an ornate balustrade that spelt out ‘Furore teutonica diruta, dono americano restituta’ (something like: “destroyed by Germanic fury, restored by American generosity”).
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Owen's predecessor had been the surgeon Sir Everard Home, who had worked alongside Hunter (the men were brothers-in-law), and became caretaker to the whole estate. It quickly became apparent to Owen, however, that far from preserving Hunter's careful documentation of his extensive collection, the bulk of the manuscripts had been destroyed or lost, meaning that Owen had to effectively start from scratch before he could hope to produce a catalogue.
The story goes that the Hunterian collection was delivered to Home in 1800, in expectation that he would produce his own catalogue, but by 1818 all he had produced was a limited synopsis, while, at the same time, he had published a raft of essays over his own name. Things took a turn for the worst in July 1823 when he told a colleague that he had burned all of Hunter's papers: it had been Hunter's dying wish, he claimed in a later enquiry (although it was not quite so clear why he had taken thirty years to get around to it). Those with an incendiary bent may not be surprised to learn that it is now commonly held that Home had been systematically pillaging Hunter's own notes and publishing them over his own name, and that he had burned the evidence to avoid being caught out. Very few of Hunter's papers survived the blaze.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
It was something of a theme in his fiction as well, best seen in his short story Sir Dominick Ferrand, in which an enterprising young man hopes to turn a few dollars by selling the highly indiscreet papers of a public figure to some filthy boulevard paper. A moral looms, however, as the young man finds himself haunted and frustrated in love as he wrestles with the problem, until he finally relieves himself with an old-fashioned bonfire: “Baron went at the papers with all his sincerity, and at his empty grate (where there lately had been no fire and he had only to remove a horrible ornament of tissue-paper dear to Mrs. Bundy) he burned the collection with infinite method. It made him feel happier to watch the worst pages turn to illegible ashes - if happiness be the right word to apply to his sense, in the process, of something so crisp and crackling that it suggested the death-rustle of bank-notes.”
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
“Many of you still have a picture in your minds of the events of that day. I myself experienced them from a particularly good vantage point and I would like to describe how the scene impressed me. It was in Frankfort on the Main. We stood at a window of the Römer, the ancient building where German emperors were crowned. On the square, which dates back to the Middle Ages, masses of people pushed forward, held back by black and brown shirts. A woodpile was set up. Then we saw a torchlight procession pouring out of the narrow streets, an ending file of students and party men in uniforms. The light of the torches flickered through the darkness and lit up the gables of the houses. I was reminded of paintings of the Spanish Inquisition. Finally, a wheelbarrow or cart drawn by two oxen jolted or stumbled over the cobblestones, laden with books which had been selected for the offering. Behind the wheelbarrow strode the student pastor. When he halted before the stake, he climbed up and stood on top of the wheelbarrow and delivered the damning speech. He threw the first book on the burning woodpile. Hundreds of other books followed. The flames darted upward and lit up the dream picture that was the present. Time had run backward for two hundred years.”
In 1945 Tillich was temporarily blacklisted by the US Army because of his membership in the Council for a Democratic Germany, one of many such coalitions of left-leaning intellectuals set up by German exiles during the war.
Monday, July 14, 2008
She was a poet, an aristocrat, a utopian, and a philosopher. All the more charming that in her Poems, and Fancies (1653), she begins with a brief envoi called ‘The Poetresses hasty Resolution’, in which she is admonished by Reason:
For shame leave off, sayd shee, the Printer spare,
Hee’le loose by your ill Poetry, I feare
Besides the World hath already such a weight
Of uselesse Bookes, as it is over fraught.
Then pitty take, doe the World a good turne,
And all you write cast in the fire, and burne.
Reason, of course, was no match for Cavendish, who dispatched her verse to the Printer with all possible haste.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
During the Second World War paper was a much straitened commodity. As a result, paper recycling and salvage drives, around the world but particularly in the United States and to an even greater extent in Great Britain, were commonplace. Among the great swathes of newsprint that were recycled, literally tens of millions of books were also pulped at this time, although most were committed to the machines only after being vetted by volunteers and librarians, who extracted rare and useful items and put them aside, usually donating the salvaged books to libraries, or sending them to POWs. This photograph, which I stumbled across in Life magazine for May 1944, makes an unusual counterpoint, but is also one of very few photos I have ever found of the good guys burning any sort of written material: even confidential papers, as here.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
In the MGM film, however, there's a very different agenda, as this photo-essay from Life makes clear. In an important sequence, the director Frank Borzage pans from the professor having his class disrupted by noisy brown-shirted students, to the scene pictured prominently here, in which uniformed hordes burn books. The scene, which borrows heavily from the original newsreel footage, is probably one of the more accurate recreations of the events, right down to the inclusion of the "fire incantations". In particular, having the scene framed from the perspective of the sympathetic Professor helps shape the response to the meaning of the book burnings: significant, because it was only later in the war years that book burning became one of the most potent symbols of anti-Nazi propaganda.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
As would be expected of any sure-footed politician, Hosni has since suggested that his remark needs to be put in perspective, but this has not stopped the Simon Wiesenthal Centre writing to UNESCO suggesting that as a “literary pyromaniac” he may not be the man for the top job. Hosni, it's apparent, regrets the remark, and later told AFP that he had merely used “a popular expression to prove something does not exist… A minister of culture cannot demand that a book be burnt, and that includes an Israeli book.”
(There are several reports online; here chiefly from the report published on the European Jewish Press website, written by Alain Navarro, 23 May 2008).
Monday, June 23, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Like many POWs he was an avid smoker, but cigarette paper was at a premium. He would smoke the blank corners of his drawings, newspapers, and even, after he had read it five times, half of Pickwick Papers (but which half? Searle is mute on this subject).
Another book to be enjoyed twice, as it were, was Rose Macaulay's Minor Pleasures of Life. Many years later he met Macaulay, and "told her I had been able to add a further minor pleasure to her anthology. Sad to say she was not amused, looked me up and down with distaste and turned her back to talk to someone more respectable. Dickens, I feel, would have been more understanding."
For many years I have been spreading the rumour that novelist Ford Madox Ford used bacon rashers as bookmarks while at the breakfast table, but I have conveniently forgotten the source of this no-doubt libelous story. It is true, however, that Wordsworth would open his books with a used bread-and-butter knife.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The man standing to his immediate right, in three-quarter profile, appears to be Alfred Kantorowicz, the Library's head.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Moreover, Raymond Cooke has described how for Khlebnikov, the act of burning books or manuscripts evolved into a complex, but usually anti-authoritarian, gesture. In the comic poem ‘Malusha’s Granddaughter’ he calls for a ‘joyous fire’ to be made from the books which are tormenting young people like ‘fierce chains of penance’ - “thus does he characterize Marxist literature” wrote the critic Boris Yakolev in his attack New World (1948). Nor did he just attack Marxist writers like Kautsky and Bebel, but a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a historian, a medical bacteriologist, and so on: the line is ‘vse gorite! / Ogney slovami - govorite!’ (which Cooke translates as: ‘ all burn away! In words of fire - have your say!’
The ritual burning of books turned into something of a particular theme for Khlebnikov. In ‘Conversation Between Two’ (1913) a brief attack on Immanuel Kant turns into a more general call for book burning: “I long for a great bonfire of books. Yellow sparks, rapid fire, translucent ash which disintegrates when touched or even breathed upon, ash on which it is still possible to make out individual lines, words of boasting or arrogance, - all this is transformed into a black, beautiful flower, illuminated by fire from within, grown from the book of people, as the flowers of nature grow from the book of the earth.”
Raymond Cooke, Velimir Khlebnikov: A critical study (Cambridge University Press, 1987)
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
“He and his secretary, Alan Searle, held a series of ‘bonfire nights’ in the large stone fireplace in the drawing room of the Villa Mauresque in 1958. Piles of letters were thrown in, as well as some of Maugham’s manuscripts. Searle - horrified to see so much valuable material go up in smoke - tried to rescue choice items. Coming down to breakfast after a bonfire night, Maugham would rub his hands and tell Searle: “That was a good night’s work. Now we’ll burn everything you’ve hidden under the sofa.”
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
These cheap dismissals were met with more yelling from the crowd, including shouts about the fate of the books of writers such as Helen Keller and Albert Einstein. Schonemann showed he would be swayed neither by emotion nor facts: “No foreign books were burned. I think I am correct in saying that none of Miss Keller’s volumes was included.”
Kathleen McLaughlin, ‘Hecklers shout disapproval of Hitler defender. Berlin Savant explains why books were burned,’ New York Times, 15 November 1933
Monday, May 26, 2008
Richard Le Gallienne, ‘Mr. Jackson on ‘The Fear of Books,’ New York Times, 25 September 1932
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
‘Firemen Douse Students. Columbia Sophomores’ Book-Burning Ceremonies Have Wet Ending,’ New York Times, 1 June 1907, p. 1
Interestingly enough, the South Field is now the square in front of the "Butler Library", which opened in 1934. The Library was named in honour of Nicholas Murray Butler, educator and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who was a vocal and influential supporter of both attempts to rebuild Louvain University Library after it was burned in 1914 and 1940.
Monday, May 19, 2008
‘City College Lists Busy Finals Week', New York Times, 6 June 1937, p. 49
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The burning of the University of Louvain in August 1914 was one of the most infamous events of the First World War, and although debate raged over who was responsible (German soldiers, or retreating Allied forces, depending on which side you asked), the Library became a propaganda symbol of the excesses of German "incendiarism". Many books and pamphlets were published denouncing the crime: this image of the burnt-out shell of part of the library is from a small booklet published in 1915 by Paul Delannoy, a professor and librarian at the University of Louvain. His book, L’Université de Louvain: Conferences données au College de France en février 1915 (Paris: 1915) is an anti-German polemic, and he calls the destruction of the library, burnt during the German advance through Belgium in 1914, an "eternal stigma" to German militarism, and hopes that the rebuilding of the library will represent the triumph of "right over force, of civilisation over barbarism".
Monday, May 12, 2008
1920s Chicago mayor 'Big Bill’ Thompson had been an outspoken critic of American intervention in the First World War (earning him the nickname ‘Kaiser Bill’). During the 1920s his anti-British stance developed to the point that he regularly expressed a standing offer to punch King George ‘on the snoot’ if he ever dared visit Illinois. In 1928 Thompson, acting on a tip-off from the self-styled ‘Patriots’ League’, deputed his friend U.J. ‘Sport’ Herrmann to take four of the most invidious pro-British books to the shores of the lake and torch them. Although it is not even absolutely clear whether the books were eventually destroyed or merely quarantined, Big Bill's posturing was the delight of pundits and cartoonists: here Thompson and his mate Herrmann light their pipes on the 'Lamp of Wisdom'.
Intriguingly, Herrmann was a famed philanthropist, who once lent the same library a quarter of a million dollars. He stayed on the library board after 1928, and became its president in 1933. He is reputed to have told Big Bill that he would help destroy the pro-British books, so long as he wasn't forced to actually read them. Many people have tried to make something of the fact that his yacht was named the 'Swastika', but I will resist.
Brooklyn "Nazi-Banned Library" opened by Albert Einstein, December 1934 (from Jubilee Book of the Brooklyn Jewish Center, 1946)
“The general public, especially in London, still remembers vividly the big fire raids around St Paul’s when, in Paternoster Row and adjacent streets - the long-established centre of the book trade - more than six million volumes were destroyed. Millions of others have been lost in bookshops and libraries in provincial cities, and millions more in damaged, gutted, or burnt-out warehouses, printing and binding works. A total of twenty million volumes destroyed would probably be an underestimate.”