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What is the history of book burning?

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01/25/2007

Book burning has been done for thousands of years right up until just recently and was caused by some religious sects as "not suitable material", to governments abolishing certain unsavory books on the subject of sex, government control, etc., and there were some book burnings during the late 1800s to modern times simply to attract attention for the author of that book (what you can't have you want!) "Burning of the books and burial of the scholars" in 213 BC is counted as the greatest crime of Qin Shi Huang of China. The writer Heinrich Heine famously wrote in 1821 "Where they burn books, they will end in burning human beings." Anthony Comstock's New York Society for the Suppression of Vice inscribed book-burning on its seal, as a worthy goal to be achieved (see illustration). Comstock's total record in a long and influential career is considered to have effected the destruction of about 15 tons of books, 284,000 pounds of plates for printing 'objectionable' books, and nearly 4,000,000 pictures - all of this material defined as "lewd" by Comstock's very broad definition of the term (which he and his associates successfully lobbied the United States Congress to inscribe in the Comstock Law), The Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451 is about a fictional future society that has institutionalized book burning. In Orwell's 1984, the euphemistically-called "memory hole" is used to burn any book or written text which is inconvenient to the regime, and there is mention of "the total destruction of all books published before 1960". Some of society book burning is a form of control and feel it is a form of censorship also that religious or political leaders practice against those ideas that they oppose. Some of the most recent book burnings are: In 1948, at Binghamton, New York children - overseen by priests, teachers, and parents - publicly burned around 2000 comic books. As part of Stalin's efforts to stamp out Jewish culture in the Soviet Union in the late 1940's and early 1950's, the Judaica collection in the library of Birobidzhan, capital of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast on the Chinese border, was burned. In 1953 Senator Joseph McCarthy recited before his subcommittee and the press a a list of supposedly pro-communist authors whose works his aide Roy Cohn found in State Department libraries in Europe. The State Department bowed to McCarthy and ordered its overseas librarians to remove from their shelves "material by any controversial persons, Communists, fellow travelers, etc. and some were burned. In 1954