13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A humane and witty exploration of libraries and books.,
This review is from: Library: An Unquiet History (Hardcover)
This is a book of passion-a passion for books and for libraries. Battles' learning is vast and eclectic yet worn lightly, and his anecdotes and information are a mixture of history, sociology, aesthetics wit and romance.
A Harvard rare books librarian himself, Battles reveals the ancient drive to posess and catalogue books, the excesses and eccentricties of bibliophiles and the dramas betwen the stacks. The library is a stage on which great men (sadly, few women, although the great Harvard library was itself endowed by one) from Constantine to Dean Swift, from Gibbon to Hitler all play their part. Here is a history of greed, venality violence, obsession and love. It is a book I should love to have written.
For a book about collecting it is also a delightfully presented volume. Read it and your shelf life will never be the same.