From cave paintings to computers, this overview of the history of books and communication is written for the layperson and student. It provides clear information on how books shaped and reflected major social, political, and literary developments. As a general guide, it moves from the earliest writing in the Middle East and Egypt to Greece, Rome, and early Christian contributions to book production and literacy. Major sections discuss publishing during the Middle Ages and how the invention of printing drastically changed and improved the distribution of knowledge. Later chapters take the reader from the age of encyclopedias in the seventeenth century to the great technological advances of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For those who wish to pursue specific areas in the history of the book in greater detail, there are three parts devoted to additional reading with descriptive, critical annotations: general histories and bibliographies, scribes and printers, and printing to the modern period. Extensive notes and documentation will lead to additional sources.
...Katz's work offers the neophyte a handy guide to the terrain.--Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian