Index, A History of the: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age

We rated this book:


Are you one of those readers who loves to turn to the back of the book first? There, you’ll scour the acknowledgments, author’s notes, appendices, and the index. Ah, the index: an alphabetized list of all the names, places, topics, and other details that point the precise way to where you can find the text. We give little thought to the index, other than perhaps to appreciate the anonymous organizer who created it. But indices have existed since at least the Middle Ages and this clever book lays out the history, bringing to life the many spats and debates that indexing has engendered. (Many disgruntled figures have annotated indexes in which they felt they were inadequately or improperly represented.) An index for a work of fiction turns out to be quite different from one for a historical work or biography. Naturally, I turned to the back pages first where I was amused to find both a (very faulty) computer-generated index and a much more robust human-generated one. As the title hints, this book is witty as well as thorough and interesting. A great read for bibliophiles and for anyone who enjoys the history of the written word.

Reviewed By:

Author Dennis Duncan
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date 15-Feb-2022
ISBN 9781324002543 Buy this Book
Issue March 2022
Category History