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Books: A Living History

Martyn Lyons

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This beautifully produced volume is a treasure for traditional book lovers as well as an inspiration for those excited by the information revolution


For two and a half thousand years, books have been used to entertain, to govern, to record, to educate and to worship – one of the most versatile, useful and enduring technologies ever invented.

Books: A Living History charts the evolution and influence of books, from Sumerian clay tablets through the development of moveable type to the emergence of eBooks and digital technology. The carefully selected illustrations include Mayan codices, Egyptian papyrus scrolls, medieval illuminated manuscripts, printing by Gutenberg and Aldus Manutius, children’s books, dime novels, Japanese manga and works of fiction from Don Quixote to Level 26, the world’s first ‘digi-novel’, and beyond.

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'Opulently illustrated … a feast for book lovers everywhere, this richly informative volume celebrates the enduring power of books throughout the ages and stakes its claim to a similar role in ages yet to come'
Good Book Guide

'A colourful, attractive and approachable overview of the development of the book over time and across the world … the scholarship in the book is very sound and based on a wide-ranging knowledge of book history'
The Book Collector

'A feast for bibliophiles and those fascinated by the world of print'
We Love This Book

'The perfect present for bibliophiles'

'Thames & Hudson are renowned for their beautiful production and design, and this book is no exception … a beautiful and beguiling book … '
Learned Publishing

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 25.4 x 19.0 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Illustrations: 266

Publication date: 3 October 2011

ISBN: 9780500251652

Contents List

Introduction: The Power and Magic of the Book • 1. Ancient and Medieval World • 2. The New Culture of Print • 3. Enlightenment and the Masses • 4. The Publisher Arrives • 5. Knowledge for All • Conclusion: The New Age of the Book

About the Author

Martin Lyons is Professor in the School of History and Philosophy at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He has published widely on the history of books and reading, including Readers and Society in Nineteenth-Century France: Workers, Women, Peasants and Ordinary Writings, Personal Narratives: Writing Practices in 19th- and Early 20th-Century Europe.

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