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Basic Books

The Library: A Fragile History

The Library: A Fragile History

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Perfect for book lovers, this is a fascinating exploration of the history of libraries and the people who built them, from the ancient world to the digital age.

Famed across the known world, jealously guarded by private collectors, built up over centuries, destroyed in a single day, ornamented with gold leaf and frescoes, or filled with bean bags and children's drawings--the history of the library is rich, varied, and stuffed full of incident. In The Library, historians Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world's great collections, trace the rise and fall of literary tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanors committed in pursuit of rare manuscripts. In doing so, they reveal that while collections themselves are fragile, often falling into ruin within a few decades, the idea of the library has been remarkably resilient as each generation makes--and remakes--the institution anew.

Beautifully written and deeply researched, The Library is essential reading for booklovers, collectors, and anyone who has ever gotten blissfully lost in the stacks.

Author: Andrew Pettegree, Arthur Der Weduwen
Publisher: Basic Books
Published: 11/09/2021
Pages: 528
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.80lbs
Size: 9.30h x 6.30w x 2.00d
ISBN: 9781541600775

Review Citation(s):
Kirkus Reviews 10/01/2021
Booklist 10/01/2021 pg. 2
Publishers Weekly 10/25/2021
Library Journal 11/01/2021 pg. 96

About the Author

Andrew Pettegree is professor of modern history at the University of St Andrews. A leading expert on the history of book and media transformations, Pettegree is the award-winning author of several books on news and information culture. He lives in Scotland.

Arthur der Weduwen is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the University of St. Andrews. This is his fifth book. He lives in Scotland.
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