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A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes and the Eternal Passion for Books Hardcover – 1 Dec 1995

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Holt (Henry) & Co ,U.S.; First Edition edition (Dec. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805036539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805036534
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 519,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Nicholas Basbanes has become our leading authority of books about books. -- David McCullough "Pulitzer Prize winning biographer and historian"

A Gentle Madness--compulsory for anyone seriously interested in books or curious about the manic nature of collecting. -- Philip Kopper "The New York Times Book Review"

A Gentle Madness is chock-a-block with such strange and appealing characters, each more wonderful than the last. -- Michael Dirda "The Washington Post Book World"

A surprising number of these stories involve nefarious dealings and vicious rivalries, proving that even in our digitized age, books arouse intense emotions, from worship to greed. -- Donna Seaman "Booklist"

A massive, comprehensive, and wonderfully readable history of book collecting and collectors. -- David Walton "The Philadelphia Inquirer"

If anyone in the United States is truly a book person, surely it is Nicholas A. Basbanes. -- Martin Rubin "Los Angeles Times" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

When first published, A Gentle Madness astounded and delighted readers about the passion and expense a collector is willing to make in pursuit of the book. Written before the emergence of the Internet but newly updated for the 21st Century reader, A Gentle Madness captures that last moment in time when collectors pursued their passions in dusty bookshops and street stalls, high stakes auctions, and the subterfuge worthy of a true bibliomaniac. An adventure among the afflicted, A Gentle Madness is vividly anecdotal and thoroughly researched. Nicholas Basbanes brings an investigative reporter's heart to illuminate collectors past and present in their pursuit of bibliomania. Now a timeless classic of collecting, no lover of books can miss A Gentle Madness. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having my own small collection of 800 books, a few first editions, several autographed editions I can relate. I loved this book. It was given to me last year by my best friend, another book lover, and I have enjoyed it so much. I am not a great, gifted collector, but still a collector and I can tell you where each book was purchased, the date, and sometimes even my mood. Some of the books I will not let anyone borrow they are too precious to me. Yes, I too suffer from this divine madness as my two children also. It is a great hobby, madness whatever..."So many books so little time."
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By takingadayoff TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Collecting books is a madness? What's so strange about people who collect books? Quite a lot, it turns out.

There was the book thief who stole nineteen tons of valuable books and manuscripts from university libraries over two decades, not to sell, but for his own library. When he was finally arrested, the police began to notify the libraries of their recovered property, and it was the first time many of the libraries realized that the items had been missing.

There was Aaron Lansky, the man who dedicated his life to collecting as many books in Yiddish as he could, warehouses full, to keep what had been a dying language from being forgotten. Due in part to his efforts, Yiddish is no longer in danger, or at least its death has been delayed.

Another collector gave her collection to a university, but she refused to leave the books. She stayed with them at the university until she died.

Book collectors, and collectors in general, are a little bit insane. Some of them want to "complete" their collections, an impossible task. Others are simply obsessed with having more than anyone else. One collector in the book admitted that he'd been a compulsive gambler but collecting books had replaced his gambling habit. Another collector compared collecting to alcoholism. Several admitted that they had no special interest in books, but that they liked the hunt and capture of the objects, whether they were books, furniture, paintings, etc. Few of them ever read any of their hard-won books.

Having plunged directly into the second half of the book, I returned to the somewhat intimidating first half, and discovered that there have been obsessed book collectors since there have been books.
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Format: Hardcover
This started out as an interesting look at books and the passions that surround them. When he got into the 20th century and started detailing the obsessive behaviours of certain more contemporary collectors at excessive length, I lost interest. I've been working on it gradually for several months because I'm no longer able to read more than a few pages at a time, and still haven't finished.
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Format: Hardcover
Just finished. Five stars. I am trying to email the author to thank him. Anyone interested in books (which includes you) deserves to read this book. The chapter on Blumberg is especially illuminating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As described - excellent product and speedy delivery
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