Friday, February 17, 2017

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts, by Joshua Hammer

I think I've mentioned this before but I am a librarian, so the author/publisher did a good job of roping people like me into checking this book out.  I had high hopes for it, but was pretty disappointed.  It isn't a bad story, in fact it is an interesting overview of the rise of Islamic extremism in Mali in the last decade or so.  But the manuscript rescue (referenced in the subtitle) felt really forced into this book -- like it could have been a side mention, because most of the book did not feel connected to the manuscript rescue at all.

And rescue is really pushing it.  The main archivist even admits that the manuscripts might have come out of this with less overall damage had they just left them in basement storage in the first place.

Not a bad book, but the library/manuscript angle was way overdone.  

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