Top positive review
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A concise overview of a large subject
on 26 September 2015
There are some well made points from previous reviewers about the size of the plates in this book, but that said they are are well chosen and reproduced. The absence of colour isn't that much of a loss to me since the book is about scripts rather than illumination, and no doubt it helps to keep the cost down for a fairly specialised volume. It's worth cross-checking the list of plates against academic websites: some (but sadly by no means all) of the examples have been digitised.
The text is distinctly scholarly: I did read it from cover to cover as it happens, but that's unlikely to be typical and probably not the author's intent. The subject being such a vast one with plenty of grey areas, Prof. Brown makes an excellent job of providing a coherent and systematic historical account, making this book a good bet for paleographers seeking an all-in-one overview. Calligraphers will probably be less thrilled, and may do well to seek out the Marc Drogin book mentioned by another reviewer, which is more idiosyncratic but also more expansive, and contains practical information beyond the scope of the present work. Both deserve their place on my bookshelf, but which one is better depends on whether one intends to understand the history or reproduce the scripts.