Friday, August 14, 2009

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary -- and literary history. The compilation of the OED began in 1857, it was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

Okay, this book isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it. Not in a murder-mystery sense ... let me put you out of your doubt there, there really is no mystery here. But it's very interesting historically and I read it over the time I was getting back into my family tree history, so it really helped fire me up. (And yes, that is still happening in the background ... was put a bit on the back-burner while Mom was up visiting).

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1 comment:

craniac said...

Yes this was a very interesting book. I listened to the audio book a year or two back. Quite fascinating.

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