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History is an important, dangerous, and fragile subject. Historical thought can be censored in widely diverging political and historiographical contexts, as historians are well aware. Yet the problems of censorship, often thought to be obvious, are rarely studied. Filling a significant void, this guide supplies information on the censorship of historical thought and the fate of persecuted historians in over 130 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and from 1945 to 2000. With each entry providing a chronological overview of cases and giving a full listing of sources, the book is the first systematic effort to overview the repression of historical thought.
Aiming to encompass all countries in which censorship and persecution have taken place, De Baets sketches a world map of repression that goes beyond the well-known and well-studied cases. It assembles scattered data from three types of sources: the works of censors and censored, historical and biographical dictionaries and historiographical surveys, and reports from international human rights organizations. Showing the universality of historical censorship and its infinite variety in amount and degree, the book also provides a basis for further comparative research.