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The men burned the books after committing them to memory. To be caught with them would have meant death.
"We're book burners, too. We read the books and burnt them, afraid they'd be found. Microfilming didn't payoff; we were always traveling, we didn't want to bury the film and come back later. Always the chance of discovery. Better to keep it in the old heads, where no one can see it or suspect it."