There can be little doubt that this book from Brian Pugh is one of the most important books on Conan Doyle to have come out since Andrew Lycett's biography and "A life in letters" by Lellenberg et al. Unlike these two titles Brian's book is one that you will dip into to check your facts rather than one you can pick up and read from cover to cover. As such it is a truly indispensable guide for the researcher and has already aided me in my present researches.
Where there are areas of disagreement (especially regarding dates) all views and sources are shown. This is one of the book's strongest points. Brian does not seek to impose his personal opinion on the reader by choosing one source over another.
To sum up. If you need a volume in which you can easily look up a period in Conan Doyle's life you can do no better than to buy this book.
Review from Peter Blau in the May edition of his monthly newsletter for Doyleans and Sherlockians:
Brian W. Pugh's A CHRONOLOGY OF THE LIFE OF SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE offers a splendid collection of information about Conan Doyle: the chronology is based on books and articles by and about him, and public records, and where there are contradictions Pugh has noted them. All of his sources are cited, and there's also a chronological listing of first and early appearances of his work, as well as lists of his residences, burial sites of family and friends, and statues and plaques dedicated to Conan Doyle, Holmes, and others.
I have every respect for MX Publishers and the author, Brian Pugh, for this Chronology of The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Very reasonably priced, the book comes in a generous large format that helps considerably in the display of the events recorded.
The detail is VERY impressive which renders the book a central work of reference.In year order the Chronology chronicles visits, lectures, works in progress, letters written, holidays, works published...all you could wish for fully dated.
The depth of research and detail is illustrated by Pugh's listing not only of first Strand publications of stories....but also the first ever appearances in America (even newspapers).
Finally, the book gives you more than its title promises, There are valuable addenda on Doyle's family,homes, statues and plaques, bibliographies and an excellent index to all.
As Randall Stock notes in his foreword, a chronology is not a biography, but "A Chronology of the Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, May 22nd 1859 to July 7th 1930", the magnum opus of Brian W Pugh, is more valuable than most of the published lives of Conan Doyle. The new edition adds about fifty pages, seven of them containing a chronological summary of the journal recently published as "`Dangerous Work': Diary of an Arctic Adventure". Here are lists of ACD's various homes, his sporting career, the burial places of the Doyles, statues and plaques, and more, including some fascinating photographs. But the essence of the book is in the orderly calendar of Sir Arthur's life, in which innumerable ambiguities and uncertainties are authoritatively resolved. Brian Pugh has created that rare thing, a genuinely essential work of reference.