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Remarkable Books: The World's Most Beautiful and Historic Works
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Remarkable Books: The World's Most Beautiful and Historic Works

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  475 ratings  ·  88 reviews
A beautifully illustrated guide to more than 75 of the world's most celebrated, rare, and seminal books and handwritten manuscripts ever produced, with discussions of their purpose, features, and creators.
From ancient masterpieces such as The Art of War, written on the leaves of bamboo, to the stunningly illustrated Birds of America, to Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, Rema
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  475 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Dec 21, 2017 marked it as to-read
greg got me this book! thanks, greg! i haven't read it all the way through yet, but i DID include it on a riffle list i made:


maybe you will like my list!
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a sumptuous book to hold and read - from is over sized format to the embossed cover it is amazing.

The book itself pretty much is exactly what the title is - its a historical trip through the book that changed the world (and I guess in the process history as well). Now I will stress the book is an intriguing mix of modern and old.

Let me explain - the book focuses of real books as in those that have survived to this day rather than books that have references of assumptions connected
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Visually beautiful big book by DK, one of my favourite imprints along with Taschen. Engagingly written with lots of detail and enough history to keep it interesting without getting dry. Wonderfully illustrated. Inevitably it includes books I haven't got round to reading yet so they've been added to the list - like I need a longer reading queue! ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
In general, I really enjoyed the scope and subject of this book. To its credit, it is filled with numerous illustrations of beautiful and rare books that I will never see in person. I must point out however that the text is very poorly edited--sort of ironic for a book glorifying the history of books. Throughout there are missing words which is irksome enough in itself, but worse, there are also mistakes with factual information. Miguel de Cervantes did not die in 1606; the I Ching and the Tao T ...more
Bob H
This is a beautiful book for those who love books and literature generally. It's a pictorial history of books, the most important books in terms of content or new methods of manufacture. It's a comprehensive span, beginning with ancient times (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls) and ending with the present day, historic periods divided in chapters. The most prominently-displayed books get a two- to four-page spread, with splendid reproductions, as well as inset commentary on each book and its method of ...more
Mar 04, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, history
Books That Changed History was not really what I was expecting. The book is more of a reference guide to these many notable books, than a work of writing that explains the historical significance of each, although the authors do add some brief context to the descriptions of many of the books covered here.

The book opens with a decent introduction, and then proceeds in a chronological fashion afterwards; with each chapter covering a different historical epoch. The authors have selected a handful o
Tulika Jain
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a book lover, it is interesting to analyze the evolution of books. From being scarce and handwritten religious texts, to braille, maps, tourist guides, Music writing, and encyclopedias. Another aspect of enjoying the book was to see the familiar titles with their first edition illustrations and explanations.
From the book of the dead of Egyptians, the Mahabharata, the Little Prince, The art of war, The Blue Quar'an, Kamasutra, Gutenberg Bible, Dante's Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, Leonardo's Jo
Jill Meyer
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever bought a book because you thought the cover beautiful? I have, and, in general, I don't recommend it. You can wind up with some gorgeous duds. However, you can enjoy beautiful exteriors and interiors in Dorling/Kinserley's new book. "Remarkable Books". The coffee-table book (by the way, have you ever seen a coffee-table books I thought not...)

"Remarkable Books" is too big to sit down with and read all at once. However, it's a wonderful book to start at the begin
This book is so interesting and beautifully put together but it can be a bit repetitive reading cover to cover. It’s great as a reference book to flick through and keep diving into, so I’ll read the remaining sections another time.

Also I’m surprised by some omissions. I was expecting to see more of the Ancient writers, for example! Still, I’m learning about a lot of texts from different fields.
Julie Reynolds
A beautiful book. However I was quite disappointed that there werent any contemporary texts. So, what would have been a five star rating has been reduced to a three star rating.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this journey through some of the most important books in history but the text part could have been better.
The illustrations are beautiful but the thing I like the most is it's cover.
Cassandra L. Manna
Very interesting, academic read. I really liked the detail the book provided on the original printings of each book: vellum vs parchment, size of book, or how the visual artwork was created. Some very fascinating information about the development of printed books as an art form. A better title would be “Printed Books That Changed History.”

Rate Procedure:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - I loved the book so much I would reread it again and would recommend to a friend.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Thoroughly enjoyed the book, could not
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, this book's cover!!! It is easily the most beautiful book I own. I mean, what could look better on a book than, well, more books, right?

Inside is also very attractive. The layout works, and many of the books chosen have their own visual - as well as historical - appeal.

Don't expect an in-depth look at the books it covers; this book is meant to be browsed through, a page or two at a time, offering up tidbits of information, while presenting picture upon picture of influential books.
Jan Polep
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful coffee table book allows you to pretend you are able to see inside 80 of the world's most celebrated and historically important books, from ancient times to the 1900's. I remember standing in a dimly lit room in the British Museum's rare book room trying to get a look into the books on display. This beats the heck out of that. Stunning pictures, analysis of why these books are important, and some like Anne Frank's diary that will knock your socks off. ...more
Himanshu Bhatnagar
The name is misleading. This is more a record of some of the most beautifully crafted, illuminated, formatted, printed books, but the vast majority of this selection could not be called "world-changing" in any sense. Still it's a sumptuous book and well worth going through just to see the effort people put in to make books true works of art. ...more
Jolanta (knygupe)
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This coffee table book puts us on a historical road of the books. It's a beautiful and informative guide.
There is no much to read ...though.
Jun 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
Nice overview of great books throughout history! I will read many of them
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recieved a free copy of this from the publisher via a Goodreads competition with the hope but not a requirement of an unbiased review to follow. I was delighted to unwrap such a beautiful volume. My first thought was "wow" as the cover is delightful. Rich colours, gold detailing and an oversized format would make this an impressive gift. I am surprised at the suggested retail price of £20.00 as hardbacks can be quite pricey yet this one is far from the most expensive despite looking as though ...more
Books like this, including the books highlighted in this book, are one of the reasons why it still makes sense to read a printed publication.

Yes, you can probably get all the same information online (or even in PDF), but you will not have the same experience of viewing the scrolls and fragments in full double-page-spread glory. Unless you prefer this on a 1024 by 768 computer screen emitting blue light.

Too bad there were a couple of factual errors that make one question the reliability of the i
Martin Dunn
An attractive coffee table book, but lacking a clear narrative. It includes some books that undoubtedly changed history - introducing new political, scientific, religious and cultural ideas - but many that were famous for other reasons. The Book of Kells is undoubtedly a spectacular illuminated manuscript - but since it was only seen by a handful of monks, what influence did it have on history? The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Domesday Book did a lot to change our understanding of history - but how ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book surveying wonderful books throughout history. I found the detailed information about the books as worthy as the lavish illustrations, many of them life sized. Who knew a copy of Leaves of Grass was sent to war with American GIs or Frank L. Baum wrote another successful children's book before The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? An indulgence for booklovers. Buy a copy for yourself or another bookworm you know. ...more
Vanessa ❤️
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous book and better yet, informative and drenched in history!
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just love the concept of this book, but I didn't buy a copy for myself because it felt like more of a...I don't know. Like a compilation of some of the interesting stuff I learned in college while studying history? It's hard to cram so much information on 75 books and manuscripts into one book, but I'm a little disappointed by how it was executed; There were chapters I wish had a little more information (or more accurate information even), but again, I did a minor concentration on history. I'm ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a birthday gift (that I’ve been told I wanted, but I don’t remember). It was my secondary read (which I take my sweet time reading), so it took me over 4 months to finish reading it. Some books are meant to be savored.

I love such books because they make me feel as if I own a treasure in book form. The book would, briefly, teach you about everything, from the Ancient Egyptians’ beliefs about the afterlife to the effect of pesticides on nature. It is exactly the kind of book I needed
Lloyd Downey
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite a lovely production. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of this series seem to have been a bit superficial but not this one. Ok one could argue about the choice of books and one could argue the Einstein's "General Theory of Relativity" of 1915 was really a paper rather than a book....but overall....not a bad selection of books that changed history. I wondered about "The Double Helix" but, like the Einstein issue...the real advance was through a scientific paper not the book about how the struct ...more
Stephen Coates
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This book (published as "Books that changed history" in Australia) is certainly a work of beauty, presenting covers and some internal pages from books of centuries past that were meticulously illustrated. And it also documents books, the text of which has certainly had major impacts on human history both positive and negative. That being said, it’s one of those books that, if read, is put back on the bookshelf where it will remain largely untouched until it is boxed for a removal or a lot in a d ...more
Laura Elyse
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!!!! The Hub’s got me this for Christmas (insert happy dance 💃🏼💃🏼). For all you fellow book nerds out there this beauty talks about the history of how books got started. It ranges from describing ancient texts, where to find them and what they’re about, to listing all the influential books of the past two centuries and how they affected history. I’m about a quarter of the way through and have already added several books on my “to read” column. I’m in love! Definitely recomme ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Remarkable Books is a great edition to DK Publishing's line-up.

As usual with DK Books it's "just the facts" giving us views of books from the beginning of printing. It doesn't just give us information about the books themselves. It also gives us historical information and the people and authors who created these books. I do wish it had talked about current literature because there are some beautiful books that have been currently printed.

A definite edition to anyone's biblio-related book collec
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book covering a lot more types of books than I knew existed. As is expected with books from DK, it's lavishly illustrated in color. Most books get a double-page spread or two, but a few at the end of the chronological chapters are gathered together with short entries in a 2-page directory.
Highly recommended if you like history and books. Lovely book. I plan to reread it. I would love to have a copy of my own.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book. Although I don't know why with Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women her life was "revealed" and "she pretended to be married". Her husband, William Godwin, wrote what he believed was her biography, which was the issue. They were legally married and he wrote the book against the advisement of others; however, nothing she had done should have condemned her to almost obscurity. ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
(5)The Vatican

Author Biography: Father Michael Collins, an Irish Catholic priest, was a protocol adviser to Pope John Paul II. He is currently a consultant to the Vatican Committee for the Millennium and Associate Professor of History at the American University in Rome. (fro

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