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An Introduction to Book History Paperback – July 14, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0415314435 ISBN-10: 0415314437 Edition: New Ed
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery have written an excellent introduction to the history of the book. This concise volume covers the major aspects of book history to introduce the novice or to refresh the memory of the scholar... the book as a whole provides a starting place for further discussion and exploration into the history of literacy, the book, and ideas about reading and text.' - Millie Jackson, Libraries and the Cultural Record

"the tracing of history, historiography, and competing views is engaging." --Journalism History

About the Author

David Finkelstein is Professor of Media and head of the Media Department at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh.

Alistair McCleery is Professor of Literature and Communications at Napier University, Edinburgh. They are the editors of The Book History Reader (Routledge 2001).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (July 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415314437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415314435
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,482,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Money on February 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
An "Introduction to Book History" is meant to be a companion text to "The Book History Reader," which is, of course, edited by Finklestein and McCleery. Knowing this before I read An Introduction to Book History made me a bit suspicious. The idea of "companion texts" seems to be more of a marketing scheme and of dubious value to the reader. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Finkelstein and McCleery have summarized the most important components of Book History in a readable and well-organized format. Some readers might find the format a bit pedantic, but this format will probably be helpful for undergraduate readers being introduced to Book History for the first time or for those readers who want a general overview of the field. At the beginning of each chapter, Finkelstein and McCleery clearly state their goals for the chapter in question, "This chapter covers the main theories and general themes that have developed in the Book History studies over the past century....After a brief summary of the terminology now commonly used to describe book history at work, the chapter looks at how book historians have characterized different stages in the history of books in Western European culture...."(7). Pedantic? Absolutely, but as I mentioned earlier, this will probably be helpful to the reader making their first encounter with Book History. Readers already familiar with the ins and outs of book history will, undoubtedly, find this book dull and repetitive. But those already familiar with the subject are clearly not the intended audience of "An Introduction to Book History." Chapters address the shift from orality to literacy, the impact of print, the relationship between printers, booksellers, publishers, and agents, and the history of readers and reading.Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Calandro on January 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Finklestein and McCleery's "An Introduction to Book History" is a very good introduction to the history of books, book production and the history of reading. I really enjoyed how the author's summarized and provided conclusions for each chapter of the book. Though a short text there is a wealth of information about the origins of both writing and books. The authors also provided citations to other, more specific works on book history.

What I did not like however, is that Finklestein and McCleery focus almost exclusively on the "history of the theory of book history". Though I suppose for an introductory text this is to be expected. I felt there was not enough focus on how the book has changed throughout history. There is information on how people consumed books, but there is only scant on how books were produced.

Overall, I felt this was a worthwhile introduction to book history but was lacking due to its brevity in the treatment of certain topics in book history. Having used this book for a grad school course I kept it mostly for its references to other works on book history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen on August 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book to help give me a background for some study work. I found it to be unexpectedly fascinating and very well-written. I had originally only rented it, but then went back to purchase a copy.

A very good reference and history book.
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By Jack-E on June 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really gets you thinking about the earlier ages of when books didn't exist, how people were taught and how literacy lead to book. The book connect all the dotes to how we got our books today.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By harriet on January 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
bought for a class in my master's program. very wordy, but informative. just a little too boring to really enjoy.
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