Sunday, October 14, 2007

BOOKS ARE WEAPONS

I'm reading Soldier's Heart by Elizabeth D. Samet, a wonderful, thoughtful book about her years teaching literature at West Point. The review will be posted in a day or two, whenever I finish. However, I just couldn't resist quoting some of her comments right now. The review of her book won't be the perfect spot for these comments, but a librarian's blog needs these comments.

She says Dell War paperbacks sent to the USO or for mailing overseas to the troops during World War II carried the message, "BOOKS ARE WEAPONS - in a free democracy everyone may read what he likes. Books educate, inform, inspire; they also provide entertainment, bolster morale. This book has been manufactured in conformity with wartime restrictions - read it and pass it on. Our armed forces especially need books."

She goes on to say, "From the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 to the USA Patriot Act of 2001, American presidents have tended to meet crises with legislation designed to curtail and suspend rather than to enlarge freedoms, including intellectual freedom and freedom of expression. That's why I relish the idea that 'books are weapons.'"

Not exactly what you expected from a teacher at West Point? Samet's book will surprise you.

I like the thought that "books are weapons."

2 comments:

Kay said...

Ooohh, I like the books are weapons quote too. I agree totally. I'll be looking forward to your full review.

Lesa said...

Kay,

It's a wonderful, thoughtful book. A little more serious than I usually read, so it's taking me a little longer. But, she's a wonderful writer about teaching cadets literature and film.