This is one of those wonderful books that seems to have more information than one would expect to fit in it. Brimming with fascinating and useful information on the history of manuscript production, handling and reading manuscripts, types of manuscripts, and more, this large, glossy, heavily illustrated book will be a delight to anyone interested in the subject. It is detailed and technical enough for the serious scholar but will also provide enjoyment to those with a casual interest wanting to dip in and out.
All information is well referenced and further books on the subject are suggested and I found the detailed information and evaluations in the appendix about the various materials available for Mediaeval Latin just what I'd been needing for a while.
All in all, this is an absolute treasure of a book. I don't think anyone interested in the subject would be disappointed with it.
I bought this book for what it had to say about illuminated manuscripts and as an introduction to a course on paleography which I am about to undertake. I recommend it for anyone who, like me, is a newcomer to understanding how medieval manuscripts were made and how to understand them. It does two things brilliantly: first, it offers a well-written introduction which goes into a great deal of detail without becoming clogged up - the logical narrative is clear and comprehensible; second, it offers copious illustration in high definition. One section, on different medieval scripts, is almost as good as having the originals there with you on your desk. The quality of production is very high - wonderful illustrations and clear, well-designed text. There's a useful glossary, a huge bibliography, and exhaustive index. If I have a criticism it is that almost all the examples used are from the Newberry Library in Chicago - but that's the point, really: it's the Newberry Library's production and, given that, it does the job excellently. I love this scholarly and careful book because it deals with a sometimes recondite subject in a fresh, lively and engaged way. Anyone vaguely interested in getting to know more about medieval manuscripts who comes upon this book will, I'm sure, become hooked.
Certainly the best book currently available on Manuscript Studies. The coverage is as comprehensive as a single volume allows, and the illustrations are excellent. It is perhaps worth saying that local historians will need further help with the scripts used in local records, and with the numerous kinds of document found in local archives. But this is not a criticism of the book itself. The authors clearly state what the book is about, and carry out the job admirably.
This book is far more than one can expect. It makes a very comprehensive reading of the subject matter and illustration are of very high quality. This is not an easy readi, though, because it is more professional than one can expect, which is great.