For centuries, humanity has had a love affair with books. But these volumes are far more than just receptacles for stories. They have been tools to spread religion and empire, and have contained dangerous politics and talismanic protections. Emma Smith tells Rhiannon Davies about our complex relationship with the printed word.

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Emma Smith is the author of Portable Magic: A History of Books and Their Readers (Allen Lane, 2022)

Authors

Rhiannon DaviesSection editor, BBC History Magazine

Rhiannon Davies is section editor for BBC History Magazine and our Tudor ambassador, writing a fortnightly newsletter in which she shares the latest Tudor news, anniversaries and content with her audience. She also regularly appears on the award-winning HistoryExtra podcast.

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