Library: An Unquiet History

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"Splendidly articulate, informative and provoking....A book to be savored and gone back to."—Baltimore Sun
On the survival and destruction of knowledge, from Alexandria to the Internet. Through the ages, libraries have not only accumulated and preserved but also shaped, inspired, and obliterated knowledge. Matthew Battles, a rare books librarian and a gifted narrator, takes us on a spirited foray from Boston to Baghdad, from classical scriptoria to medieval monasteries, from the Vatican to the British Library, ...

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Overview

"Splendidly articulate, informative and provoking....A book to be savored and gone back to."—Baltimore Sun
On the survival and destruction of knowledge, from Alexandria to the Internet. Through the ages, libraries have not only accumulated and preserved but also shaped, inspired, and obliterated knowledge. Matthew Battles, a rare books librarian and a gifted narrator, takes us on a spirited foray from Boston to Baghdad, from classical scriptoria to medieval monasteries, from the Vatican to the British Library, from socialist reading rooms and rural home libraries to the Information Age.
He explores how libraries are built and how they are destroyed, from the decay of the great Alexandrian library to scroll burnings in ancient China to the destruction of Aztec books by the Spanish—and in our own time, the burning of libraries in Europe and Bosnia.
Encyclopedic in its breadth and novelistic in its telling, this volume will occupy a treasured place on the bookshelf next to Baker's Double Fold, Basbanes's A Gentle Madness, Manguel's A History of Reading, and Winchester's The Professor and the Madman.

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Editorial Reviews

BookPage
“One might expect a book that...[is] huge in scope and academically dry....Library is neither....[An] engaging book.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Battles' sprightly narrative performs a valuable service by blowing the dust off our stodgy, conventional conception of the library to reveal the living heart of cultures that beats beneath its stone facade.”
Richard Lederer
“Battles turns an all-seeing telescope on the most spectacular galaxy in our intellectual heavens—that magnificent constellation of books we call a library—and brings into focus the brightest stars and blackest holes in its dynamic history.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099437079
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005

Meet the Author

Matthew Battles is a Curatorial Fellow with metaLAB, a project of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 3 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Raven

    Raven grabs 37 fiction books to read, and heads home.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Monster

    ((This is just a short writing I did in the middle of class one day, not quite a story, not quite a poem...))
    The monster comes for me.
    I can feel it creeping to fill my limbs, demanding control.
    I count the seconds down.
    12...11...10...
    10 more seconds before I lose control...
    9...8...7...
    I close my eyes and plead.
    "Leave me alone..."
    6...5...4...
    I swallow hard as the truth settles in.
    3...2...1...
    There is no escape...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Janet's Summer Vacation

    Janet is 21 years old, her junior year in collage, and still a virgin. After a bad break-up with her boyfriend she practicaly swears off boys. She returns home for summer vacation to find out her mom is getting remarried! Janet's step-dad-to-be, Derric, is nice but not really her style. Her step-sister-to-be, Crissy, on the other hand, is toatally hot! One day ,after the wedding, Janet accidentaly sees Crissy without a top while she's getting dressed. Janet now wanted more then ever to make love with her step-sister. On a really hot day in July, Janet's mom and Derric went on a date and it was just Janet and Crissy in the house. Crissy suggested they go swimming and Janet agreed. Crissy had gotten in a car accident and broken her arm so she asked Janet to help her get into her new bakini. To be continued a library result #2

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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