In "Fahrenheit 451" what is some proof that Beatty has read books?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Beatty's lecture to Montag on the history of firemen, he tells Montag that every fireman gets an itch to read books.  He says, "I've had to read a few in my time, to know what I was about, and the books say nothing!  Nothing you can teach or come away lost."  So, he admits to having read books, and here states that he found them worthless.

Later, when Montag returns to work, Beatty quotes line after line after line from books; how could he have done this if he hadn't read them?  He has read them enough to actually be quoting them, so it would seem his expertise is even greater than he let on.  Beatty admits:  "Read a few lines and off you go over the cliff.  Bang, you're ready to blow up the world...destroy authority.  I know, I've been through it all."  So he admits to having been deeply impacted by books, having wanted to change the world because of them.  But then he states, "What traitors books can be!  You think they're backing you up, and they turn on you."  So even though he has been moved by books, he has felt deeply betrayed by them too; this indicates a very personal and close relationship with them.  So, Beatty is much more than he seems; a deep, and deeply troubled man who has a long history with books.