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Book Lovers Day: Why We Must Fight to Protect Books

November 1, 2019

November 2nd is Book Lovers Day and on this special day, we discuss the importance of libraries, books, and other bibliographical material as it pertains to cultural heritage and the antiquities.

The Importance of Books in Cultural Heritage

Books are knowledge systems that can be used to educate readers about culture, history, and anything in-between. Books can take you on an adventure through fictional and non-fictional stories while you learn something along the way. They are an important tool to be used to tell stories; however, not everyone wants these stories to be told.

Books can be targeted by violent regimes who aim to wipe out cultures and anything in opposition to their beliefs. Libricide is commonly used to describe this. It is the destruction of libraries, books, and other biographical material typically lead by these violent regimes.

Because books are paper, they are much more susceptible to destruction by fire or bombing that we have seen destroy so many precious antiquities. Dr. Rebecca Knuth recommends that important cultural and historical texts be converted to digital versions to preserve them no matter what extremists come along. Dr. Knuth says that the areas most likely to see libricide happen are areas with war, extremism, and ethnic-religious conflict. 

These books, both fiction and non-fiction, can take you on a journey and teach you something along the way.

Here are some recommended reads for you:

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the RulesThe Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

Looking for a whimsical, adventurous read that digs into the world of art crime? Look no further than The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules (2016) by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, a former marine-archaeologist, and museum curator.

Buy Now

Chasing AphroditePlundering Beauty

In his new book Plundering Beauty: A History of Art Crime During War, Arthur Tompkins takes a look at dire effects of conflict on a nation’s cultural patrimony. The systematic pillage of sites such as Palmyra and Nimrud captured the attention of millions over the last five years, but this issue is not a new phenomenon.

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The Painted Queen

The Painted Queen brings Amelia Peabody, Egyptologist and amateur detective, and her loving husband, world famous archaeologist, Dr. Radcliff Emerson, back for one last adventure: the discovery of the bust of Queen Nefertiti.

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The Medici ConspiracyThe Medici Conspiracy

It reads like a Hollywood blockbuster: dashing detectives hot on the trail of an international ring of art thieves, hunting for millions of dollars’ worth of antiquities from the great civilizations of the past. Yet this isn’t the plot of an adventure film—it’s a nonfiction book. The Medici Conspiracy, a thorough account of the illicit trade in antiquities and its investigation by the Italian Carabinieri, is as informative as it is entertaining.

Buy Now 

The Painted QueenChasing Aphrodite

Chasing Aphrodite (2011) by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino recounts the intimate relationship between the J. Paul Getty Museum and the world of the trade in illicit antiquities since the 1970s. Through a retelling of these case studies, Felch and Frammolino expose how prevalent and pervasive this illicit trade had been throughout much of the latter half of the twentieth century.

Buy Now