Book Reviews of The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged)

The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged)
The Professor and the Madman - Audio Cassette - Abridged
Author: Simon Jones (Narrator), Simon Winchester
Audio Books swap for two (2) credits.
ISBN-13: 9780694520664
ISBN-10: 0694520667
Publication Date: 9/1/1998
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 12

4 stars, based on 12 ratings
Publisher: HarperAudio
Book Type: Audio Cassette
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

92 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 774 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 17
The pretext for this book is rather slight one of the significant volunteer contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary was, although an intelligent and educated man, also an inmate of an insane asylum, confined for a murder committed while in the throes of a schizophrenic paranoid delusion.
While, as a revelation, this fact may be less than earth-shattering, Winchester uses this story of the inmate, Dr. W.C. Minor, the man he killed, George Merrett, and the main editor of the OED, Dr. James Murray, as a vehicle for all kinds of interesting details he goes on quite a number of tangents, but theyre always immensely well-written and fascinating! Winchester isnt afraid to stray from dry, historical writing he definitely makes guesses, fleshes things out for colorful effect but his research is also obviously thoroughly done, and he also stops short of fictifying (ok, thats not a word, but I think it should be) his topic its always made clear when his scenarios are theoretical.
Id highly recommend this book not only for those interested in dictionaries and lexicography, but for anyone interested in Victorian England, the Civil War, treatment of the mentally ill, or any of a number of other topics...
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Really engaging - you'd never think that the creation of the Oxford English dictionary would have such crazy history, but reads like a really great detective novel, even though it's completely factual. Couldn't put it down, amazed by what I learned from reading it.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
An absolutely fascinating history mingling two stories: the making of the Oxford English Dictionary and one of its leading contributors, a brilliant, but insane American confined in a British asylum. Full of fascinating facts and quirky personalities, it reads more like a novel.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
A very interesting tale, for those who are interested in the quaint and unusual, or in the history of the English language. This book chronicles the lives of two of the key contributors to the monumental acheivement known as the Oxford English Dictionary; Professor Murray, its first truly effective editor, and Dr. Minor, a schizophrenic American who contributed greatly to the content of the dictionary from his cell in an English asylum for the criminally insane.

While the book is worth a read, be forewarned: Winchester tends to be overly verbose and the text can drag at times--especially towards the end, with its several additional chapters.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This is a wonderful, and slightly twisted, book on the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. It's full of history and all sorts of interesting linguistic tidbits for other geeks like me.
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Helpful Score: 6
This is a great story if you like murder books that incorporate a lot of history of the peoriod and also combines two very diffrent stories into one. I loved that this book teaches you such interesting history and teaches you about the great undertaking of the compiling of the first edition of the Oxford dictionary. If you love language you will love the passion it shows towards it and the part a man in the hospital for the criminally insane played a large roll in the compiling of quotes.Not a breezy read but a good one.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 153 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Before reading (well, listening to) this book, I would have found it difficult to believe that the story of the making of a dictionary could be interesting! But it is. It's full of fascinating, if sometimes sad, characters as well as a wealth of information about how the greatest dictionary in the English language came to be (that, in itself, is amazing).

The author's use of language is superb and -- even more astounding -- he reads the book as well as any professional reader (a rare talent!). I simply loved this book!

I've already read Winchesters book "The Map That Changed the World," and I can't wait to read ALL his books.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Being a lover of words I really enjoyed a look into some of the history of the OED.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Good story of how an inmate of an asylum contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The fascinating and poignant story of the Oxford English Dictionary and two similar, yet very different in circumstance, men whose lives would likely never have crossed except for their work on the OED. Although I had heard the story of the 'lunatic American doctor' who contributed reams of information for the OED, I still found myself riveted to the sad story (and occasional salacious detail in my opinion). As a word geek myself, I have a love/hate affair with dictionaries and yes, there are times when I just sit down and read a few pages. The incredible undertaking and vast scope of the project is obvious when you view the dictionary itself in its multiple-volume splendor, but I tend to forget that most Americans have likely never actually seen one in person. So of course, I found the story of the dictionary itself interesting and worthwhile reading, but combined with the inexplicable mystery of how and why the 'madman' was in a situation that enabled him to contribute so much...it just boggles the mind. "The Professor and the Madman" by Simon Winchester is well worth your time and a fun, educational read.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 201 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A bit wordy, but an interesting story about the OED and one of it's more "colorful" contributors.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I enjoyed this history more than most but am fascinated with the OED. It isn't a quick read and seems to lose some of its initial steam but it was interesting. I would recommend it to any English geek I know.
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Helpful Score: 3
Who know that the OED went thru such strange yet fruitful birth pains? I had always wondered who did the first dictionary full length, and how. This book explained that and more. I thought the author did a fabulous jobportarying Dr. Minor. The author showed great compassion to the doctor. I would have liked to learn a bit more about Mr. Murray. The author makes reference to a book written about him by his grand daughter; too bad he couldn't add some of that info to this book.
All in all this is an engrossing read. The history of the stumbles, fits and starts in regareds to the dictionary gets a bit tedious, but after the first half the pacing is quite good.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 404 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
What a great story about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary! It's not a stuff tale of facts and data, but a light and breezy tale of two men who love language. Light and breezy? Yes, the use of language does not mire the reader in details, but actually enhances the experience. There is some history of mental health and evolution of it.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was an interesting book, although not for the faint of heart. At times the reading got a little dry going into the details of creating the dictionary and how a word was properly defined. But I am glad I read it. It was thought provoking. I mean, have you ever thought about how you would even go about creatinga dictionary? I found the author to sometimes be a little romantic in his renderings, but that made the personal stories of the book more appealing. I did enjoy it but it took a while to wade through the dry bits.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 471 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
It is known as one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters. The creation of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1857, took 70 years to complete, drew from tens of thousands of brilliant minds, and organized the sprawling language into 414,825 precise definitions. But hidden within the rituals of its creation is a fascinating and mysterious story-a story of two remarkable men whose strange 20 year relationship lies at the core of this historic undertaking. You'll love this book.
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Helpful Score: 2
Okay, its a good thing this is a short book. While the story itself is very interesting, it isn't that long of a story. To make it long enough for a book, the author puts in a lot of filler- every chapter starts with a word definition, information about mental illness and a lot of repeating of the same information. I found my self starting to skim when information was repeated throughout every chapter- Dr Minor's experiences in the civil war; descriptions of Dr Minor's cells in the asylum; Dr Minor's dillusions; the widow of the slain man was pregnant with several more children at home- everything was repeated several times everywhere. The author apparently considers himself a wit- his "humour" was injected in several paces. If this story were made into a movie where the story alone is presented with maybe a little literary license taken to give some of the lesser characters some interest, I would pay to see it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Who knew a book about the making of a dictionary could be so fascinating!! The rich history of the Oxford English Dictionary begins with a murderer, a lunatic, and ultimately the greatest work ever produced.
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Helpful Score: 1
If you're a word fanatic, you'll love this book. It's about a dictionary, so don't get this expecting all kinds of drama. It's a great piece of history! I loved it.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
masterfully researched and eloquently written tale of madness, genius and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary - and literary history..."linguistic detective story of the decade" William Safire NY Times
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Helpful Score: 1
I have always wondered how words got their spelling and their meaning. Who decided on what was right and what was wrong. This book explains all of that and more. I found it to be extremely compelling. This 'madman' ravaged by our own civil war made a huge contribution to it. Unbelievable. I'd recommend to anyone as curious as I was to the origin of words. Great story. It is hard to get into the first 20 pages after that. Wonderful!
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Helpful Score: 1
An excellent book focusing on one amateur contributor to the OED and through that decidedly different lens (the man was a paranoid schizophrenic) telling also the larger tale of how the dictionary was originally compiled. I found it to be highly interesting and an easy read -
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Winchester has a writing style that makes for very quick reading. This was my first book by him, but it was very interesting and well put together; I will definitely read more of his books.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating story! I couldn't put it down. Who'd think that the writing of the Oxford Dictionary could be so interesting.
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Helpful Score: 1
There once was a surgeon named Minor
Who became a prodigious definer
Though he had a large brain
He was also insane
Could the irony be any finer?

* * * * *


I really enjoyed this book it was, as I noted in my "in progress" review, quite the interdisciplinary social history.

Though the subject seems extremely dry (the development of the Oxford English Dictionary), when you think about it--the task of cataloging and defining EVERY SINGLE WORD in the English language--it becomes supremely mind-boggling.

In addition to the history of the dictionary, W.C. Minor--a U.S. citizen who had been confined in an insane asylum for murder--played a central and integral role.

And their intertwined stories (along with that of Dr. Murray the dictionary's editor) hung together in a fascinating way. My only fault with the book was at the end, where the author rather than dispassionately recounting the stories, begins to wax philosophical on the nature of insanity and the treatment of the insane.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the story of two remarkable men whose genius and obsessions led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. As definitions were collected, Professor James Murray discovered that one man, Dr. W.C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor was an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
For such a fascinating story I thought the book would be less dry. Nonetheless, an interesting slice of history, irresistible for a dictionary junkie.
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Helpful Score: 1
Interesting and engaging...maybe it suffered a bit from my reading it after Thunderstruck by Erik Larson, which was denser and more suspenseful and full of nerdy things about wireless telegraphing.
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Helpful Score: 1
i'VE discovered I just love Simon Winchester. This could have been a very dull book. After all, who cares about a stuffy ol' dictionary? Well, now I do. In fact, I'm hankering after a complete set of the OED, thanks to this book. It is a treat. I read it through in two sittings - or I should say, "lyings", since I read lying on my sofa.
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Helpful Score: 1
A really fascinating partly fictional account of the development of the Oxford English Dictionary, focused on the relationship between two of the principal contributors, one of whom was in an insane asylum.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my favorite books of the year.
It is a fascinating study of compiling and writing the great Oxford English Dictionary, the first full dictionary of the English language.
It took 70 years, and very few partial dictionaries existed at the time it was begun, mid 1800s.
As one amazon review states:
paints a rich portrait of the OED's leading light, Professor James Murray, who spent more than 40 years of his life on a project he would not see completed in his lifetime. Winchester traces the origins of the drive to create a "Big Dictionary" down through Murray and far back into the past; the result is a fascinating compact history of the English language (albeit admittedly more interesting to linguistics enthusiasts than historians or true crime buffs).
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Helpful Score: 1
Who ever thought about how a dictionary comes into being - and more than that - how did the first comprehensive tome on the english language get assembled? Amazingly - it was with the help of 1,000's of volunteers, but one in particular - who scoured books for words and their usage. This book follows not only the mechanics of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, but the unusual role that a "lunatic" played in this seminal work.
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Helpful Score: 1
The strange story, with strange twists where least expected, about one of the major research contributors to the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. I already knew and loved OED (wish I had the entire new set at home!), so this backstory likely stays on my shelves with other related works. Easy read, interesting obscure details, great fun!
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Helpful Score: 1
loved the definitions at the beginning of each chapter
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Helpful Score: 1
I really loved this book, but I am also one of those people that like to read the dictionary as well...
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Helpful Score: 1
Wonderful book about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.
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Helpful Score: 1
A fascinating true story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary and the important part played by a brilliant, insane American who was institutionalized after murdering a man he had mistakenly assumed was threatening him.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 215 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a truly interesting and fully entertaining book. Chronicling the fascinating and awe-inspiring story behind one of the greatest literary endeavors ever attempted: The creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. More precisely, the story of two of the most essential men in its creation: The editor, James Murray, and one of the most helpful volunteer contributors, Dr. William Chester Minor, who happens to be an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane. As you read, you begin to have more and more of an appreciation for the size and scope of the project these two men, along with thousands of volunteer contributors and a full staff of workers, struggle to complete. Twelve volumes, with 414,825 defined words featuring 1,827,306 quotations on 15,487 pages. A literal lifetime's worth of work, with James Murray taking on the job in 1879 (the Dictionary project having first been proposed in 1857), and the final volume of the First Edition only finally being completed in 1927 (with four supplements yet to follow), twelve years after his death in 1915. An exhaustingly long project to be sure, involving almost more man-hours of labor than can be conceived, but one which allowed for the formation of a decades long friendship between two very distinctive and notable men.

With the story of both men told against the backdrop of the creation of what may well be the most remarkable work in the history of the English language, reading this book is truly an amazing glimpse at a chapter in history that few really appreciate. Both men so similar, yet very different, brought together by a twist of fate and laboring with a passion at something that at one point seemed impossible: to collect, define, and trace the history of every single word in the English language. If the subject matter is remotely interesting to you, I definitely strongly recommend reading it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Story of how a man locked up in an asylum for the criminally insane helped provide numerous entries for the first addition of the Oxford Enflish Dictionary.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book is a bit dry at times as it discusses the requisite history of dictionaries and the English language. It takes some time to get moving, and seems to spend fairly little time discussing the titular characters. It occasionally muddies fact with myth.

Those quibbles aside, it's a good story. Both the tale of the OED and the history of the insane Dr. Minor are fascinating and at times uplifting. It also reads fairly quickly, and is well-written overall.
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This is a facinating read about how the dictionary was created. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!
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I just loved this story. Only a person with very little else to do, could have made the kind of contribution this man did. The nerd in me just loved his methodology for finding "words used in a sentance."... Highly recommend!
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TERRIFIC account of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.
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Interesting listen. Abridged 2 cassettes Approx 3 hrs.
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Interesing, fun history of the writing of the oxford english dictionary.
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Fascinating story!
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I really enjoyed reading this book. I knew nothing about the Oxford Dictionary, much less about the people involved in the making/writing of it. I am going to try and get some more of his books.
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Fascinating book about the writing of the Oxford Dictionary and the brilliant but tortured man who made much of it possible.
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This is a great read! So interesting to learn about how the Oxfor English Dictionary came about. Reads like a good detective story.
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Fascinating and detailed account of the devotion thousands of word-lovers in the creation of the OED, the grand keeper of the English language, as told through the work and life of one contributor, imprisoned for life for murder. I've read it twice and will read it again.
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A very interesting story in a book I could not put down. Not many people are interested in words and, especially, dictionaries these days because of texting and tweeting, but those of us who ponder on the compilation of an encyclopedia or dictionary will be fascinated by the efforts put forth to produce a great work of reference material we all will find useful at one time or another during our lives.
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This book lingered on my bookshelf for years because frankly, I was afraid it was going to be boring. I need not have worried; this book captured my attention and held it for all 242 pages and dare I say it: left me wanting more. The book is at its heart the story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) but it's also a story about a murder, a civil war veteran who is psychotic, and a scholar who just needed some help in writing this huge book. The story covers about 80 or more years of history, both American and British, specifically as it relates to Oxford University. The author makes the story come alive and be interesting without being dull.
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Liked the concept of the book though tie writing felt like it was pieced together.
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This is a terrific read. There are a class of nonfiction books lately that take one thing and examine it down to a level that would never occur to you would be interesting - Cod, Salt, Longitude - but they really, really are. And this similar class of an unexamined, strange, fascinating twist in history.

The madman is an American physician who served on the bloody battlefronts of the American Civil War, then moved to England, where apparently he went mad, and killed a man. Confined to prison for the rest of his life, he got it in his head to answer an ad in the paper to contribute words, definitions, and examples of usage to the new comprehensive dictionary that would, in the end, take decades to complete: The Oxford English Dictionary. This madman became, over the years, the single most prolific contributor to the project. His samples of usage are still in the Oxford.

Even stranger, the editor of the dictionary did not know his most valued contributor was a madman and murderer confined to prison for life -- it was only many years later, when he went to visit his contributor that he found out.

Very well written, the right length, well paced, and very interesting. Highly recommended. (This same author's other nonfiction books are equally interesting!)
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Thought this book would be a good read from the cover but I was disappointed. Although the story itself is interesting I found the book dull and not well put together. Also, The writer has a tendency to input his own subjective analyses on the personalities of the characters which gets pretty annoying.
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this is a awesome book.I thought it would be boring cause it was a historical type, but it is not.
It gives the history of the making of the OED, and the people who contributed. Among them, is a brillian but scarred man.
Some really neat information and insight into the civil war and how doctors treated people.

He is in an insane asylum. This book charts his journey into madness and brilliance.
Very good book.
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Wikipedia--19th Century-style. A fascinating story, told by a master!
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A fascinating story. When I selected it I had doubts. Then I read it and was very impressed by just about everything in it. It almost reads as romance of people involved in a 70 year project going through generations to great the greatest dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary. One would not think that writting a dictionary would be anything but the ultimate bore. Its not.
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This was probably a fine newspaper article, but as a novel, it was a stretch. The making of the Oxford English Dictionary was an awesome feat and there were some interesting facts in the book about the long process of amassing all of the information. The way the author treated the life of the "madman" was tedious at best and tacky at worst. He then wraps it up with some generic speculation about mental illness in general which read as something to simply fill up space in the book. I would love to see somebody take this story and turn it into a great work of fiction. This book was not it.
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The amazing achievement that is the OED gets a human face with the telling of this tragic story. Dr. Minor's personal adversity--his insanity, his crime, and his resulting confinement in an asylum--also positioned him to make a remarkable and lasting contribution to the great dictionary. Winchester makes sure that the people are the book's primary focus, and provides just enough lexicographical detail for clarity. An engrossing read.
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It was a good story. The writer made it more interesting by interjecting definitions from the OED. He also used a number of large and unusual words.
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Very interesting bit of history. I swapped this on a whim but I was pleased I got the chance to read it.
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Enjoyable and well crafted. Highly recommend.
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I agree with Rachelle that it was sort of pieced together, but considering the Dictionary was put together over such a long period of time, the story is the piecing together in itself.
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You need to keep a dictionary close by with this one.
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Who would have thought that a book about making a dictionary would be so interesting?
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Very interesting book especially if you are interested in language usage.
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A fascinating piece of history!
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A very interesting story but the writing was very poor and the author's tone patronizing. Had to force myself to finish it.
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One of my favorites - riveting reading, suspenseful, and historically interesting too.
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A pretty quick read, but a very interesting story about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. The story centers on two men -- one who is charged with organizing the making of the dictionary, and another who contributes greatly to it from his home at a mental institution for the criminally insane. I found the story of the making of the dictionary, which I realized I knew almost nothing about, at least as interesting as the story of the two men at the center of the story. Well-researched, well-written, and worth a read.
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A very interesting read. It's always nice when a writer can take a real life story and make it read like good fiction. And, as they say, "truth is stranger than fiction." No more so than the story of the professor, the madman, and the OED!
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This book would have made a great magazine article. I found it rather tedious as a full-length book. Perhaps if I were a lexicographer or more philologically inclined I would have liked it better. The long definitions and word histories were just too much for me. I finished the book because I kept thinking it would pick up and get better - by the time I decided it wasn't going to, I was already more than half way through.
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madness/genius. two sides of the same coin. great book
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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK AND NATIONAL BESTSELLER!

This book, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredlbe obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the "Oxford English Dictionary" - and literacy history. The compilation of the "OED" begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W.C. Minor, had submitted more then ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.
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Interesting tale that serves as the backdrop of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.
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It is amazing to think of the inner struggles this man dealt with while giving so much of his great mind.
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I was thoroughly engrossed in this book from start to finish. It's "a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary." Just learning about and coming to understand the massive undertaking that was the creation of this dictionary, was fascinating. It took 70 years!

I was also very intrigued by one of the themes of the book: how life exposures and experiences can warp a perfectly sane, very productive and brilliant man into a lunatic and murderer. The research into the two men's lives is very deep and detailed, and thankfully enhanced by a clear and beautiful writing style. I couldn't put this one down!

***** Five Stars!
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This is a fascinating glimpse into a small piece of history. The _Oxford English Dictionary_ took 70 years and legions of workers to research and complete. One of them, Dr. William Chester Minor, was a schizophrenic murderer confined in a hospital for the criminally insane in London. His prodigious and meticulous scholarship for over 20 years from his prison cell was important to the development of the OED.

If you are interested in words, in dictionaries, or in 19th century medical and legal procedures for people clearly and incurably "mad," this book is a must read.
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great!
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Fascinating!
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Witty and entertaining non-fiction.
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This book lingered on my bookshelf for years because frankly, I was afraid it was going to be boring. I need not have worried; this book captured my attention and held it for all 242 pages and dare I say it: left me wanting more. The book is at its heart the story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) but it's also a story about a murder, a civil war veteran who is psychotic, and a scholar who just needed some help in writing this huge book. The story covers about 80 or more years of history, both American and British, specifically as it relates to Oxford University. The author makes the story come alive and be interesting without being dull.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 48 more book reviews
From the back of the book: "The Professor and the Madman", masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the "Oxford English Dictionary"--and literary history. The compilation of the "OED", begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W.C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.
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Very interesting and readable - I really enjoyed it.
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Great book and such a strange story! The truth is stranger than fiction...very well written and interesting.
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This is an excellent story. I highly recommend it.
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Very quick and interesting read.
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 136 more book reviews
And you thought the Oxford English Dictionary was dull!
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 17 more book reviews
Although I'd never wondered how the OED was first produced, I found this story fascinating! This book tells how, in an age when few dictionary's were available, Professor James Murray organized the project of collecting English words, their various uses, histories, and quotations, and organized them into a series of twelve volumes known as the Oxford English Dictionary. The contributions of Dr. W.C. Minor to the project are considerable. It is only after years of collaboration via post that Dr. Murray finds out that one of his best "readers" is incarcerated in an asylum for the criminally insane.

The book is read by the author, and is unabridged on 6 CDs (7 1/2 hours).
reviewed The Professor and the Madman (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on + 17 more book reviews
Great book about the history of the Oxford English Dictionary.
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Loved this book.