Library by Matthew Battles
An Unquiet History

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Synopsis

"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.
 

About Matthew Battles

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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.
 
Published February 7, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 256 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Library

Kirkus Reviews

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Historical survey by a rare-book librarian of the defining epochs and events leading to both the destruction and proliferation of libraries.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Library: An Unquiet History

Publishers Weekly

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Battles, a contributor to Harper's and a Harvard librarian, offers a distinguished portrait of the library, its endurance and destruction throughout history,

Apr 28 2003 | Read Full Review of Library: An Unquiet History

The New York Times

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The most requested book of all, Mr. Steinberg says, may have been Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” (1998), a macho and plainspoken synthesis of the ideas in books like Machiavelli’s “Prince” and Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.” In the writing classes Mr. Steinberg also teaches in prison, he int...

Oct 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Library: An Unquiet History

Publishers Weekly

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Battles, a contributor to Harper's and a Harvard librarian, offers a distinguished portrait of the library, its endurance and destruction throughout history, and traces how the library's meaning was questioned or altered according to the climate of the time.

| Read Full Review of Library: An Unquiet History

Oconee Regional Library

A Time of Our Choosing by Todd Purdum and the staff of the New York Times writes a well balanced and easy to comprehend book on the war in Iraq.

May 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Library: An Unquiet History

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