Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper spontaneously catches fire and burns. It is a futuristic novel describing a time when the government has ordered that all books be burned.
This may seem to be ridiculous and could never be happening, but it is starting to happen in real life now, today.
Now we have a president who accuses everything in the press of being "fake news". He tells his followers who constitute a near majority never to believe the news media. He has ordered the arrest and criminal prosecution of the leading law enforcement officers including the Director of the FBI and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He has accused most of his political opponents of corruption and crime. Nobody knows what is the truth and what is false any more.
He says that decisions of the highest courts of the United States are almost all fake. He openly attacks and criticizes the highest judges of the Supreme Court. He says the truth is false and the false is true. The result is we the people do not know who or what to believe. All the great scientists have found that climate change is real and our time on this earth may be limited, but he says climate change is a hoax and we should ignore the works of the scientists.
This is not the first time this has happened. In China, Chairman Mao declared his Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forwards. China has the oldest civilization in the world, going back to before Confucius in 551-479 BC. Yet, during the Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao ordered all the old books burned and destroyed and even ordered the people to destroy their old household furniture.
I found this out myself in 2011 when I toured China after the World Memory Championships in Guangzhou China. As a book publisher, I wanted to reprint some old classical works. I was shocked to discover that no books were available dated before 1949 and few after that. Everything earlier than that had been destroyed.
I am still hoping that some older Chinese books have been preserved in Taiwan.
I consider a book dated 1949 to be a relatively new book. I usually do not bother with such recent books.
The destruction of all books in China dated before 1949 is not reported on any website that I have found but I saw with my own eyes that all such books were gone.
About the Author
Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) was one of science fiction's greatest luminaries. The author of such classic, important works as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury was honored in 2007 with a Pulitzer citation for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy. Other distinctions include a 1954 honor from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation in 2000, and the National Medal of Arts, awarded by President George W. Bush and Laura Bush in 2004. He was also an Emmy Award-winning screenwriter. Born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1920, Bradbury spent most of his life in Los Angeles, where he passed away in 2012.