A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
'A sweeping, absorbing history, deeply researched, of that extraordinary and enduring phenomenon: the library' Richard Ovenden, author of Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge under Attack
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 this, the first major history of its kind, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen explore the contested and dramatic history of the library, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled public resources we cherish today. Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world's great collections, trace the rise and fall of fashions and tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanours committed in pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts.