The Book At War

The Book At War


Availability: In Store Purchase Only

Qty :

    share :

Gabi's Review

What possible symbiotic relationship exists between one of humanity's most constructive inventions - the book - and its most destructive: war? In this engaging history, Professor of Modern History at St Andrews University, Andrew Pettegree, offers his expert insight into how books and reading both shape and have been shaped by war.

Pettegree's book focuses on the period from World War One to the present,and discusses a wide range of examples, from the reading of international military leaders such as Mao and Lenin, the bombing of libraries, and the pulping of books often volunteered by their authors as part of World War Two's recycling program.The book draws attention to the role of books in sourcing vital information about remote locations used as battlefronts.

Discussion is devoted to the use of books as propaganda. One well-known example is the dropping of pamphlets on England by the Nazi regime in an attempt to demoralise the English. A less well-known, but hilarious example, is the US air balloon offensive distributing the Bible over the mountains of the Czechoslovakian Republic. Czech officials wrote to the USA with a desist request based what ultimately became a litter problem.

As economic necessity is frequently the mother of invention, World War II saw the birth of the Penguin paperback. 15 small paperbacks could be produced at the cost of a single hardback. This democratisation of both fiction and non-fiction made the world of ideas more widely available to the general population. And the rest the history!

Publishers Reviews

Propaganda, pulp fiction, spies and censorship: the fascinating and action-packed story of books in wartime.