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Summary

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.

©2021 Andrew Pettegree, Arthur Der Weduwen (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

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Liked this so much I bought the hardback

Sean Barrett does, as usual, a wonderful job though I keep listening for the Slough House crowd. But to the book -
This has been one of the best non-fiction books for the past year. From earliest periods of written matter to the present - the destruction and dispersal of libraries are well covered as well as their influence positive and negative on people. The 20th century is very well covered - the Nazi destruction and rare saving of some libraries, the Soviet suppression of materials that did not fit with their view of the world mirrored in the UK and USA. Some libraries were pillaged for gain but too often for religious and political causes. Wipe away the writing and wipe away the history and culture.
This was such a good book!