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Library: An Unquiet Historyby Matthew Battles
Synopses & Reviews
On the survival and destruction of knowledge, from Alexandria to the Internet. Through the ages, libraries have not only accumulated and preserved but also shaped, inspired, and obliterated knowledge. Matthew Battles, a rare books librarian and a gifted narrator, takes us on a spirited foray from Boston to Baghdad, from classical scriptoria to medieval monasteries, from the Vatican to the British Library, from socialist reading rooms and rural home libraries to the Information Age.
He explores how libraries are built and how they are destroyed, from the decay of the great Alexandrian library to scroll burnings in ancient China to the destruction of Aztec books by the Spanish—and in our own time, the burning of libraries in Europe and Bosnia.
Encyclopedic in its breadth and novelistic in its telling, this volume will occupy a treasured place on the bookshelf next to Baker's Double Fold, Basbanes's A Gentle Madness, Manguel's A History of Reading, and Winchester's The Professor and the Madman.
Provides an intriguing historical study of libraries and books, their preservation, and destruction, from the U.S. to Europe and Asia, from medieval monasteries and Vatican collections to the ever-changing information highway of today. Reprint. 10,000 first printing.
About the Author
Matthew Battlesis a rare books librarian at the Houghton Library at Harvard University and a contributor to Harper's. He lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Reading the library — Burning Alexandria — The house of wisdom — The battle of the books — Books for all — Knowledge on fire — Lost in the stacks.
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