Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Five of the best books on the history of communication

Andrew Pettegree is professor of modern history at the University of St Andrews. A leading expert on the history of book and media transformations, Pettegree is the award-winning author of several books on news and information culture. Arthur der Weduwen is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the University of St. Andrews.

They are the authors of The Library: A Fragile History.

At Shepherd Pettegree tagged five top books on the history of communication, including:
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Interweaving the author’s own life and a historical event is a tricky business, but Susan Orlean pulls it off in the masterpiece of sympathetic and suspenseful writing. Having moved to Los Angeles, Orlean becomes fascinated by a local disaster, the destruction by fire of 400,000 books from the collection of the local public library. At the time this event went largely unreported, overshadowed by the far larger catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power station that occurred almost simultaneously. Along the way, as Orlean introduces us to the leading characters in this still largely unresolved mystery, we learn a great deal about the pre-digital world of the public library, and the colourful cast of readers for whom it was an essential part of their lives.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue