Sunday, July 20, 2008

The man who made lists : love, death, madness, and the creation of Roget's Thesaurus by Joshua Kendall

I picked this one out because I loved The Professor and the Madman and thought the story of thesaurus making might be similarly interesting.

It's not.

In fact, I bailed about 1/3 of the way through. It's a fairly average biography with lots of amateur psychology and tales of young Roget's early life. His family was prone to depression and madness, his mother was clingy and lived her life through him (Behind every great man is a needy mother?) and etc. Pretty much the usual stuff, and not terribly well told. Oh, the prose is good enough, at least I didn't notice any glaring errors, but the author utterly failed to make me care at all about Roget or his list making.


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