Anyone who has turned to Roget’s Thesaurus for that perfect word will be fascinated by this look at the man behind the lists. Peter Roget's early life was traumatic, leading him to develop such coping skills as compiling lists to impose order on chaos. Joshua Kendall's unique biography uses drama and wit to put a face on the brilliant but odd man behind this English language standard. Stephen Hoye renders the text flawlessly. His agreeable voice and crisp, clear articulation make the text particularly easy to follow. He even manages to make the lists of synonyms that begin each chapter interesting to listen to. This is a much more intriguing and dramatic story than one might expect.
From the age of eight, Roget kept these lists with the intention of ordering the chaotic world around him. After his father's death, his mother became overbearing and despondent. Soon, his sister also descended into mental illness. Despite these tragedies, Roget lived a colorful life full of unexpected twists and discoveries - including narrowly avoiding jail in Napoleon's France, assisting famed physician Thomas Beddoes by personally testing the effects of laughing gas, and inventing the slide rule.
Evocative and entertaining, The Man Who Made Lists lets listeners join Roget on his worldly adventures and emotional journeys. This rich narrative explores the power of words and the everlasting legacy of a rediscovered genius.
©2008 Joshua Kendall; (P)2008 Tantor
"Brisk and vivid." (Los Angeles Times)
Adjective. Arousing no interest or curiosity.
Synonyms: drear, dreary, dry, dull, humdrum, irksome, monotonous, stuffy, tedious, tiresome, uninteresting, weariful, wearisome, weary, blah, colorless, displeasing, drag, dry, flat, humdrum, irksome, mundane, piercing, tedious, tiresome, tiring.
Disappointing. Seems to be the life of a relatively ordinary -- although odd -- individual who created a useful tool. Nothing special here.
Sometimes historical biographies can be a little difficult to follow if secondary characters and events aren't handled well, but this book was very well done in this regard.
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