Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Book: A Global History

The Book: A Global History
The Book: A Global History, edited by Michael F Suarez and HR Woudhuysen, is a collection of more than fifty essays covering the entire history of publishing and printing. Most of the chapters are also available in the first volume of The Oxford Companion To The Book, though The Book: A Global History features three additional essays and costs six times less. (The Oxford Companion also includes a second volume of 5,000 shorter encyclopedic entries.)

Each chapter is a concise overview of its topic rather than a comprehensive survey, though all chapters are accompanied by individual bibliographies. The number of illustrations is limited, though the book is elegantly designed (except for the stock photo on the jacket). The scope is truly global, with accounts of book production in more than thirty countries and regions. As the editors write in their introduction, "We have sought not only temporal comprehensiveness, but broad geographical range as well."

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