This book is an interesting story into how the dictionary came to be. The amazing part is how the author puts sickness from the 1800's into today's version of the same types of sickness. It was very sad how it came to be that Mr. Miner had to live a life of sickness. This is a great story.
I must admit that I first clicked on this book because the title intrigued me. After reading a summary, I thought how interesting could a story about the creation of the Oxford dictionary be? Turns out pretty darn interesting. The narrator (who is also the author) has a very pleasant voice which is perfectly matched for the subject matter of the book.
The Oxford Dictionary, and well, frankly the existence of all dictionaries is something that I have always taken for granted. I never once stopped to think how they came about, but seriously, think about it. You are tasked with organizing and defining every word out there-how exactly does one go about that, this is after all long before "the internet" and "google" were available.
I thought Mr. Winchester did a wonderful job of explaining the process of the dictionary's creation without being boring or mundane, of course the existence of a true madman who happened to be one of the most prolific contributors doesn't hurt.
Readers who would are looking for the focus to be on character development, of both the professor and the madman, are going to be disappointed. However, readers who want a great deal of the book?s focus to be the development of a dictionary, they?ll be very pleased.
This is an amazing story ? and perhaps a terrific film. But this book teases more than is satisfies ? as regards understanding the madman.
A special treat of the recorded book is an interview by the author after the story is told.
Winchester is without question a great reader of his own writing, and this book is an interesting look at the evolution of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Although it has a strong narrative quality, I'm not convinced that it was a book's worth of information; towards the end I found myself becoming bored because the outcome was quite obvious.
Perhaps I should have bought the abridged version.
The language is beautiful. It's well written. It is an interesting story. But it's also a character study of a sick person whose continued descent into madness is both sad, tragic and sometimes very very very graphic.
I liked the book. I'm glad I know the story. But it isn't one I'll be listening to again.
Say something about yourself!
Simon Winchester recounts the tale of a collaboration that helped bring life to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED): that of the Scottish Professor James Murray, editor of the OED, and one of his most prolific and invaluable volunteer contributors, former U.S. Army surgeon W.C. Minor, who was committed to Broadmoor Hospital, an asylum for the criminally insane, after committing murder in London.
Murray, Minor, and their relationship are fascinating subjects, but in telling their story Winchester also detours onto a variety of other compelling topics, as well, from the unique plight of the Irish soldiers who fought for the Union Army in the U.S. Civil War to the evolution of scientific thinking about and treatment for schizophrenia. All paths in this book eventually lead back to the daunting task of creating the first edition of the OED, and Winchester makes his case for why this achievement is worthy of attention and no little awe.
Solidly narrated, this audiobook is both brief and admirably wide-ranging, a treat for lovers of intellectual history.
I loved this book. Unique and interesting story. Great narration. Couldn't stop listening.
Never got bored. Good pace
If you like history this will be a good book for you. It covers an American Civil War officer undergoing a British experience in somewhat different circumstances.. It is worth the read.