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Andrew Pettegree

Author of The Library: A Fragile History

28+ Works 2,054 Members 29 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Andrew Pettegree is Professor of Modern History and Founding Director of the Reformation Studies Institute at the University of St Andrews

Series

Works by Andrew Pettegree

The Book in the Renaissance (2011) 317 copies
The Reformation World (2001) 53 copies

Associated Works

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Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Pettegree, Andrew
Legal name
Pettegree, Andrew David Mark
Birthdate
1957
Gender
male
Nationality
UK
Places of residence
Scotland, UK
Hamburg, Germany
England, UK
Education
Merton College, University of Oxford (BA|MA|D.Phil)
Occupations
Professor of Modern History
author
professor
Organizations
University of St Andrews
Awards and honors
Commander, Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (2024)
Fellow, British Academy (2021)
Fellow, Royal Historical Society (2000)
Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize (2011)
Goldsmith Prize (2015)
Agent
Catherine Clarke (Felicity Bryan Associates)
Short biography
Teaching and Research Interests

I began my career working on aspects of the European Reformation. My first book was a study of religious refugee communities in the sixteenth century, and since then I have published on the Dutch Revolt, and on the Reformation in Germany, France and England, as well as a general survey history of the sixteenth century. In the last years the focus of my research has shifted towards an interest in the history of communication, and especially the history of the book. I run a research group that in 2011 completed a survey of all books published before1601: the Universal Short Title Catalogue. This work will continue, in 2012-2016, with work to incorporate new discoveries and continue the survey into the seventeenth century. In 2010 I published an award-winning study of The Book in the Renaissance, and early in 2014 I will publish The Invention of News: a study of the birth of a commercial culture of news publication in the four centuries between 1400 and 1800. I will return to the Reformation for a study of Luther’s writings for the Reformation anniversary of 2017

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/s...

Andrew Pettegree is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of several books on aspects of the European Reformation, as well as a general history of sixteenth-century Europe. More recently he has turned his attention to the history of the book. The Book in the Renaissance, published by Yale University Press in 2010, was a New York Times notable book of the year, and won the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Prize of the Renaissance Society of America. In 2014 he will publish, also with Yale, his study of the first four centuries of a commercial news culture, The Invention of News. He is also director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue, an online database of books published throughout Europe before 1601. Between now and 2016 the USTC will extend its coverage to 1650.

http://royalhistsoc.org/person/andrew...

Members

Reviews

This book was something of a mixed bag for me. However, the parts I liked I found very interesting and well done and the parts I didn’t care for weren’t too onerous.

My main complaint was that this book focused almost exclusively on European, and then later on English and American libraries. There were brief mentions of library history and innovations in other countries but these were comparatively terse and confined to a few throwaway sentences. Someone reading this with no prior background at all would come away thinking libraries were largely a phenomenon confined to the global north and the nebulous and increasingly tenuous “West”. The libraries of ancient and medieval China, or of the early Islamic Caliphs merit scarcely a mention. A genuinely global survey of the history of libraries may well be beyond the scope of this or any single book, but in that case a more fitting title may have been in order. This omission is all the more glaring for the relatively large swathes of ink the author spills on other subjects. Most notably the chapters dealing with the private libraries of Renaissance nobles and Dutch merchants seem to go on in extreme length and detail.

I did really appreciate the author’s thesis statement, that most library destruction is a result of neglect, obviated usefulness, or not meeting the needs of the new generation that inherits them. Library histories tend to focus on the spectacular and purposeful destruction of libraries rather than this more common, if less flashy, cause of library death.

The sections closer to modern times dealing with what we would recognizably see as “public libraries” was fascinating and well done. The author adroitly and convincingly showed the lineage of subscription and circulation libraries through to the modern incarnation of tax payer funded libraries open to all. I wish there had been more time devoted to this historical period and far less spent on an exhaustive cataloging of the book collecting habits of Renaissance.

P.S.

The author did give a shout out to Better World Books and mentions how he uses it to buy weeded library books at discount rates. This is something I also do! It's a really neat service for both customers and libraries and more people should use it.
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Autolycus21 | 10 other reviews | Oct 10, 2023 |
A fascinating subject and the author had insights that were news to me. I was particularly impressed by its European perspective. I felt that the history interfered rather than interwinded with how the news developed and this spoilt my enjoyment.
 
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mumoftheanimals | 2 other reviews | Sep 28, 2023 |
I rarely give 5-star ratings, but this marvelous book absolutely deserves it. The authors spin a captivating narrative on the developmental history of libraries, leading from personal collections, to government holdings, through subscription and circulating libraries, culminating in the appearance of the true public library. The story is as gripping as any novel, and full of unusual details. It was an absolute pleasure to read, and my copy is well marked up to keep track of the best bits that I know I'll need to draw upon later. Brilliant!… (more)
 
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dono421846 | 10 other reviews | Apr 13, 2023 |
Tons of information, but way too detailed for me. Very interesting bits mixed in with mountains of history.
 
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steve02476 | 2 other reviews | Jan 3, 2023 |

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Works
28
Also by
4
Members
2,054
Popularity
#12,515
Rating
4.0
Reviews
29
ISBNs
82
Languages
6
Favorited
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