Book Reviews

A group of children and adults at an exhibit.
“Dial A Book: Book Review for Young Adults” interactive exhibit displayed by the ALA during the New York World’s Fair in 1964. Image and caption from the American Library Association Archives.

Would you like to become more involved in the scholarly conversations about library history?  One great way to do that is by reviewing new books.  Libraries: Culture, History & Society (LCHS), the peer-reviewed journal of LHRT, publishes evaluative book reviews. This page lists:

1). Section 1: Books available for review 

2). Section 2: Books already assigned to a reviewer

3). Section 3: Books with Published Reviews in LCHS


Section 1:

Books Available for Review–If you are interested in reviewing one of these titles, please email the LCHS Book Review Editor, Brett Spencer, dbs21@psu.edu. If you discover a title on library history that is not listed here and you are interested in reviewing it, please email the Book Review Editor to discuss further.

Book review guidelines are listed on the last page of the LCHS Submission Guidelines for Authors.  Please note that the reviews should be primarily evaluative rather than only descriptive.  The journal also asks that Book reviews are not peer-reviewed; the journal editors make a decision on whether to accept a review.

When a book is assigned for review, the title will be moved to the “Books Already Assigned to a Reviewer” section below.  New books are added continually, so check back soon!


Behrens-Abouseif, Doris, Garrett Davidson, George Dimitri Sawa, Tobias Andersson, Hamza Malik, Damaris Wilmers, Jelle Bruning et al. The Book in Mamluk Egypt and Syria (1250-1517). Brill, 2018.   https://brill.com/view/title/39432

Booton, Diane E. Publishing Networks in France in the Early Era of Print. Routledge, 2018. https://www.routledge.com/Publishing-Networks-in-France-in-the-Early-Era-of-Print-1st-Edition/Booton/p/book/9781138712539

Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. MIT Press, 2018.  https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/book

Boudalis, Georgios. The Codex and Crafts in Late Antiquity. Bard Graduate Center, 2018.  https://www.bgc.bard.edu/gallery/exhibitions/80/the-codex-and-crafts-in

Brillenberg Wurth, Kiene. Book Presence in a Digital Age. Bloomsbury, 2018.  https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/book-presence-in-a-digital-age-9781501321207/

Burrows, Toby, and Cynthia Johnston, eds. Collecting the Past: British Collectors and their Collections from the 18th to the 20th Centuries. Routledge, 2018. https://www.routledge.com/Collecting-the-Past-British-Collectors-and-their-Collections-from-the/Burrows-Johnston/p/book/9780815382348

Carley, James P,  James M W Willoughby and  J I Catto.  Books and Bookmen in Early Modern Britain: Essays Presented to James P. Carley. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2018. http://www.brepols.net/Pages/ShowProduct.aspx?prod_id=IS-9780888448309-1

Chrystal, Paul. Roman Recordkeeping & Communications.  Fonthill Media, 2018. https://www.fonthill.media/collections/paul-chrystal/products/roman-record-keeping-communications

Cleaver, Laura. Illuminated History Books in the Anglo-Norman World, 1066-1272. Oxford University Press, 2018. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/illuminated-history-books-in-the-anglo-norman-world-1066-1272-9780198802624?cc=us&lang=en&

Cole, Heather, ed. Houghton Library at 75: A Celebration of its Collections. Houghton Library, Harvard, 2018.  https://www.amazon.com/Houghton-Library-Celebration-Collections-Publications/dp/0674980085

Curran, Mark. The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe I: Selling Enlightenment. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-french-book-trade-in-enlightenment-europe-i-9781441111692/

Fehrenbach, Robert J. Private Libraries in Renaissance England: A Collection and Catalogue of Tudor and Early Stuart Book-Lists: PLRE 167-260. Vol. 8. Mrts, 2014.  https://www.amazon.com/Private-Libraries-Renaissance-England-Collection/dp/0866985069

Frampton, Stephanie Ann. Empire of Letters: Writing in Roman Literature and Thought from Lucretius to Ovid. Oxford University Press, 2019. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/empire-of-letters-9780190915407?cc=us&lang=en&

Hill, Alexandra. Lost Books and Printing in London, 1557-1640: An Analysis of the Stationers’ Company Register. Brill, 2018.  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40635890-lost-books-and-printing-in-london-1557-1640

Knight, Leah, Micheline White, and Elizabeth Sauer, Eds. Women’s Bookscapes in Early Modern Britain. Reading, Ownership, Circulation.  The University of Michigan Press, 2018. https://www.press.umich.edu/9901165/womens_bookscapes_in_early_modern_britain

Kwakkel, Erik. The European Book in the Twelfth Century.  Cambridge University Press, 2018. https://www.amazon.com/European-Twelfth-Cambridge-Medieval-Literature/dp/1107136989

Schaefer, Heike, and Alexander Starre. The Printed Book in Contemporary American Culture: Medium, Object, Metaphor. Palgrave McMillan, 2019. https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783030225445

Stewart, Kate. A Well-Read Woman: The Life, Loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport. Little A, 2019.  https://www.amazon.com/Well-Read-Woman-Loves-Legacy-Rappaport/dp/1503904156

Story of the FAO Library: 65th Anniversary, 1952-2017.  Food and Agricultural Organization, 2017.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/story-FAO-Library-anniversary-1952-2017/dp/9251099421

Thomson, R. M. Fox and the Bees: The Early Library of Corpus Christi College Oxford.  D.S. Brewer, 2018. https://boydellandbrewer.com/the-fox-and-the-bees-the-early-library-of-corpus-christi-college-oxford-hb.html

Van Straten, Giorgio. In Search of Lost Books: The Forgotten Stories of Eight Mythical Volumes. Pushkin Press, 2018. https://www.amazon.com/Search-Lost-Books-Forgotten-Mythical/dp/1782273743

Section 2:

Books Already Assigned to Reviewers–Someone has volunteered to review each of the following books.

Adler, Kate, Ian Beilin, and Eamon Tewell. Reference Librarianship and Justice. Litwin Books & Library Juice Press, 2018. https://litwinbooks.com/books/reference-librarianship-justice/

Aguirre, Carlos, and Ricardo Donato Salvatore, eds. Bibliotecas y cultura letrada en América Latina: siglos XIX y XX. Fondo Editorial, 2018.

Bautz, Annika, and James Gregory, ed. Libraries, Books, and Collectors of Texts, 1600-1900.  Routledge, 2018.  https://www.routledge.com/Libraries-Books-and-Collectors-of-Texts-1600-1900-1st-Edition/Bautz-Gregory/p/book/9781138593190

Blatt, Heather. Participatory Reading in Late-Medieval England. Manchester University Press, 2018.  http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526117991/

Cohn, Barbara Madgy, and Patrice Rafail Merritt. The Detroit Public Library: An American Classic. Wayne State University Press, 2017. https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/detroit-public-library

Cole, John Y. America’s Greatest Library: An Illustrated History of the Library of Congress. La Vergne: D Giles Limited, 2018. https://www.amazon.com/Americas-Greatest-Library-Illustrated-Congress/dp/1911282131

Collins, Michael, Alexandra Black, Thomas Cussans, John Farndon, and Philip Parker. Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works. DK, 2017. https://www.amazon.com/Remarkable-Books-Worlds-Beautiful-Historic/dp/1465463623

Darnton, Robert. A Literary Tour de France: The World of Books on the Eve of the French Revolution. Oxford University Press, 2018. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/a-literary-tour-de-france-9780195144512?cc=us&lang=en&

Dever, Mary Anne.  Archives and New Modes of Feminist Research.  Routledge, 2017.  https://www.routledge.com/Archives-and-New-Modes-of-Feminist-Research/Dever/p/book/9781138337954

Eckardt, Hella. Writing and Power in the Roman World: Literacies and Material Culture.  Cambridge University Press, 2018.  https://www.upress.virginia.edu/title/4999

English, Charlie.  The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu: The Quest for this Storied City and the Race to Save its Treasures.  HarperCollins, 2017.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-book-smugglers-of-timbuktu-the-quest-for-this-storied-city-and-the-race-to-save-its-treasures-by-charlie-english-2m5tsq0xz

Friedrich, Markus. The Birth of the Archive: A History of Knowledge. University of Michigan Press, 2018.  https://www.press.umich.edu/9394639/birth_of_the_archive

Gilland, Julianne, ed. A Library for the Americas: The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection. University of Texas Press, 2018.  https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/gilland-montelongo-library-for-the-americas

Guarria, Charles I.  Proposition 13: America’s Second Great Tax Revolt: A Forty Year Struggle for Library Survival.  Emerald, 2019.  https://www.amazon.com/Proposition-13-Americas-Struggle-Survival/dp/1787690180/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=proposition+13+america%27s+second+great+tax+revolt&qid=1564506175&s=books&sr=1-1

Gulik, Egbertus van. Erasmus and His Books.  University of Toronto Press, 2018.  https://www.colophonbooks.com/pages/books/27538/egbertus-van-gulik/erasmus-and-his-books-translated-by-j-c-grayson

Harrington-Lueker, Donna. Books for Idle Hours: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the Rise of Summer Reading. University of Massachusetts Press, 2019. https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/books-idle-hours

Hayes, Kevin J.  George Washington: A Life in Books.  Oxford University Press, 2017. https://www.amazon.com/George-Washington-Kevin-J-Hayes/dp/0190456671

Hamilton, James. The British Museum: Storehouse of Civilizations.  Head of Zeus, 2018.  https://www.amazon.com/British-Museum-Storehouse-https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030158156Civilizations/dp/1786691833

Hepler, Allison. McCarthyism in the Suburbs: Quakers, Communists, and the Children’s Librarian. Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498569392/McCarthyism-in-the-Suburbs-Quakers-Communists-and-the-Children%27s-Librarian

Jumonville, Florence M. Spreading the Gospel of Books: Essae M. Culver and the Genesis of Louisiana Parish Libraries. LSU Press, 2019.  https://lsupress.org/books/detail/spreading-the-gospel-of-books/

Intrator, Miriam.  Books across Borders : UNESCO and the Politics of Postwar Cultural Reconstruction, 1945-1951.  Palgrave McMillan, 2019.  https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030158156

Jarvis, Zeke.  Silenced in the Library: Banned Books in America. Greenwood, 2017.
https://www.abc-clio.com/ABC-CLIOGreenwood/product.aspx?pc=A5060C

Jordan, James, Lisa Leff, and Joachim Schlör, eds. Jewish Migration and the Archive. Routledge, 2017. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315676395

Kalder, Daniel. The Infernal Library: On Dictators, the Books They Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy. Henry, Holt & Company, 2018. https://www.amazon.com/Infernal-Library-Dictators-Catastrophes-Literacy/dp/1627793429

Kells, Stuart. Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature. Counterpoint, 2019. https://www.counterpointpress.com/dd-product/shakespeares-library/

Kluberdanz, Rebecca.  The Art of Reading: An Illustrated History of Books in Paint.  Getty Publications, 2018. https://www.amazon.com/Art-Reading-Illustrated-History-Books/dp/1606065866

Laugesen, Amanda. Globalizing the Library, Librarians and Development Work, 1945–1970.  Routledge, 2019. https://www.routledge.com/Globalizing-the-Library-Librarians-and-Development-Work-19451970/Laugesen/p/book/9780815370031

Leff, Lisa Moses. The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust. Oxford, 2015. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-archive-thief-9780199380954?cc=us&lang=en&

Low, Bronwyn. The Right Thing to Read: A History of Australian Girl-Readers, 1910-1960. Routledge, 2018.  https://www.amazon.com/Right-Thing-Read-Australian-Girl-Readers/dp/1138542776

Manley, Keith. Irish Reading Societies and Circulating Libraries Founded Before 1825: Useful Knowledge and… Agreeable Entertainment. Four Courts Press, 2018.  http://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/2018/irish-reading-societies/

Mann, Annika. Reading Contagion: The Hazards of Reading in the Age of Print. University of Virginia Press, 2018. https://www.upress.virginia.edu/title/4999

McDade, Travis. Torn from Their Bindings: A Story of Art, Science, and the Pillaging of American University Libraries.  University of Kansas Press, 2019.  https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-2636-6.html

Moore, Sean D.  Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries: British Literature, Political Thought, and the Transatlantic Book Trade, 1731-1814. Oxford, 2019. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/slavery-and-the-making-of-early-american-libraries-9780198836377?cc=us&lang=en&

Murphy, Andrew. Ireland, Reading and Cultural Nationalism, 1790-1930: Bring the Nation to Book.  Cambridge University Press, 2018. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ireland-reading-and-cultural-nationalism-1790-1930-andrew-murphy/1126961827

Murphy, Sharon. The British Soldier and his Libraries, c. 1822-1901. Springer, 2016.
http://www.palgrave.com/it/book/9781137550828

Nappo, Christian A. The Librarians of Congress. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27109589-the-librarians-of-congress

Orlean, Susan.  The Library Book.  Simon & Schuster, 2018.  http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Library-Book/Susan-Orlean/9781476740188

Rabinowitz, Dan. The Lost Library: The Legacy of Vilna’s Strashun Library in the Aftermath of the Holocaust.Brandeis University Press, 2019.  https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Library-Aftermath-Holocaust-Institute/dp/1512603082

Rico, Christophe, and Anca Dan.  The Library of Alexandria : A Cultural Crossroads of the Ancient World : Proceedings of the Second Polis Institute Interdisciplinary Conference.  Polis Institute, 2017.
https://www.amazon.com/Library-Alexandria-Crossroads-Conference-Proceedings/dp/9657698103

Rooney, Paul Raphael. Railway Reading and Late-Victorian Literary Series.  Routledge, 2018.  https://www.routledge.com/Railway-Reading-and-Late-Victorian-Literary-Series-1st-Edition/Rooney/p/book/9781138285637

Rydell, Anders. The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance. Penguin, 2018. https://www.amazon.com/Book-Thieves-Libraries-Literary-Inheritance/dp/0735221227

Selby, Mike. Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South.  Rowman & Littlefield, 2019. https://rowman.com/isbn/9781538115534/freedom-libraries-the-untold-story-of-libraries-for-african-americans-in-the-south

Smith, A. Arro. Capturing Our Stories: An Oral History of Librarianship in Transition. American Library Association, 2017. https://www.alastore.ala.org/content/capturing-our-stories-oral-history-librarianship-transition

Teplitsky, Joshua. Prince of the Press: How One Collector Built History’s Most Enduring and Remarkable Jewish Library. Yale, 2019. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300234909/prince-press

Werner, Sarah. Studying Early Printed Books, 1450-1800: A Practical Guide. Wiley, 2019. https://www.amazon.com/Studying-Early-Printed-Books-1450-1800/dp/1119049970

Wiegand, Shirley A., and Wayne A. Wiegand. The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism. LSU Press, 2018. https://lsupress.org/books/detail/desegregation-of-public-libraries-in-the-jim-crow-south/

Wilson-Lee, Edward. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library. Scribner, 2019. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Catalogue-of-Shipwrecked-Books/Edward-Wilson-Lee/9781982111397

Zalar, Jeffrey T. Reading and Rebellion in Catholic Germany, 1770-1914.  Cambridge, 2019.  https://www.amazon.com/Rebellion-1770-1914-Publications-Historical-Institute/dp/1108472907


Section 3:

Books with Published Reviews in LCHS–To view LCHS published reviews, please access the journal through a JSTOR subscription.  Members of the Library History Round Table receive a free subscription to LCHS with membership. To join, visit http://www.ala.org/membership/joinala.

Barndt, Kerstin & Carla M Sinopoli.  Object Lessons & the Formation of Knowledge: The University of Michigan Museums, Libraries, & Collections 1817-2017.  University of Michigan Press, 2017.

Black, Alistair. Libraries of Light: British Public Library Design in the Long 1960s. Routledge, 2016.

Breisch, Kenneth A.  American Libraries 1730-1950.  Norton, 2017.

Burke, Colin B. America’s Information Wars: The Untold Story of Information Systems in America’s Conflicts and Politics from World War II to the Internet Age. Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.

Crawford, Alice, ed. The Meaning of the Library: A Cultural History. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Devereaux, Peter, and The Library of CongressThe Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures.  Chronicle Books, 2017.

Felsenstein, Frank, and James J. Connolly. What Middletown Read: Print Culture in an American Small City. University of Massachusetts Press, 2015.

Gordon, Bruce. John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion: A Biography. Princeton University Press, 2016. c Libraries, 1754-1911. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Hendrickson, Thomas. Ancient Libraries and Renaissance Humanism: The De Bibliothecis of Justus Lipsius. Brill, 2017.

Kells, Stuart. The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders. Text Publishing, 2017.

MacDougall, Ian.  Voices of Scottish Librarians: The Evolution of a Profession and its Response to Changing Times.  John Donald, 2017.

Raven, James.  What is the History of the Book? Polity, 2018.

Towsey, Mark, and Kyle B. Roberts.  Before the Public Library: Reading, Community, and Identity in the Atlantic World, 1650-1850.  Brill, 2017.

Yang, Yang. The Sage in the Cathedral of Books: The Distinguished Chinese American Library Professional Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee. Ohio University Press, 2016.