August 15, 2014

Now did John Murray say that or was it John Murray? Wait, maybe it was John Murray.

As you'd expect from a book which has the word 'dynasty' in the title The Seven Lives of John Murray: The Story of a Publishing Dynasty was chock full of DATA. SO MUCH DATA. As you'd expect, there's a lot of history wrapped up in a publishing agency which was opened in 1768 and lasted until 2002. Full disclosure: I had never heard of John Murray Publishing (or so I thought until I unearthed this blog entry I had written in 2010). You might not have either but you've definitely heard of some of the authors they've published throughout the years. For instance, John Murray II (you're maybe getting the meaning behind the book title right about now) published Lord Byron, Jane Austen, and Sir Walter Scott. John Murray III brought Charles Darwin on board for his work On the Origin of Species which you may have heard about... Throughout its many years, the agency was well-known for its educational material such as medical textbooks, history books, and general science books. When the company was taken over this was what was deemed most viable although the Murray Archive which contained scores of correspondence and manuscripts from a variety of authors and other personages (what?) was valued at £45 million. O_O If you're interested in publishing or simply like to know historical facts about a company that lasted more than 200 years then you can't go wrong with this book.

This next book was recommended to me by a dear friend/adopted Grandpa who told me it was right up my street. (He's probably right.) The book is called Curse of the Narrows by Laura M. Mac Donald and it chronicles the horrifying disaster that occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 6, 1917 and the days that followed. When a munitions ship collided with another ship at harbor the results were absolutely catastrophic. Not only was there a massive explosion but a tsunami and snow storm were also triggered. Mac Donald utilized resources left from the explosions's official historian as well as other primary documents from the period to craft this nonfiction work. I can't wait!

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