Author(s): Nicholas A. Basbanes
Inspired by a landmark exhibition mounted by the British Museum in 1963 to celebrate five eventful centuries of the printed word, Nicholas A. Basbanes offers a lively consideration of writings that have "made things happen" in the world, works that have both nudged the course of history and fired the imagination of countless influential people. In his fifth work to examine a specific aspect of book culture, Basbanes also asks what we can know about such figures as John Milton, Isaac Newton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Adams, Frederick Douglass, Helen Keller, even the notorious Marquis de Sade and Adolf Hitler, by knowing what they have read. He shows how books that many of these people have consulted, in some cases annotated with their marginal notes, can offer tantalizing clues to the evolution of their character and the development of their thought. Nicholas A. Basbanes, who has been called "our leading author of books about books" by Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, offers an engaging consideration of writings that have "made things happen" in the worldÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â� works that have both nudged the course of history and fired the imagination of countless influential people such as John Milton, Isaac Newton, Frederick Douglass, Henry James, Helen Keller, and even the notorious Marquis de Sade and Adolf Hitler. Basbanes also profiles the most articulate readers of our own timeÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â� including Harold Bloom, Robert Fagles, Helen Vendler, and Elaine PagelsÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â� and offers insightful discussions of literary canons and classic works in translation as well as powerful exhortations on the ability of literature to train physicians, nurture children, and rehabilitate criminal offenders. First published 2005.
"First-rate reporting..[EBIR] allows us to step away from our myopic fixation on writers and consider the reader." -- Karen Long, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Nicholas A. Basbanes graduated from Bates College in 1965 and received a master of arts degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1969. He served as naval officer during the Vietnam War, and made two combat cruises to the Tonkin Gulf. An award-winning investigative reporter during the early 1970s, Basbanes was literary editor of the Worcester Sunday Telegram from 1978 to 1991, and for eight years after that wrote a nationally syndicated column on books and authors.