Monday 23 November 2020

Book Review: The Madman's Library by Edward Brooke-Hitching (Non-Fiction)

Title: The Madman's Library
Author: Edward Brooker-Hitching
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: 6 April 2021
eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

This fascinating and bizarre collection compiles the most unusual, obscure books from the far reaches of the human imagination throughout history.

From the author of the critically acclaimed bestsellers The Phantom Atlas and The Sky Atlas comes a unique and beautifully illustrated journey through the history of literature. The Madman's Library delves into its darkest territories to hunt down the oddest books and manuscripts ever written, uncovering the intriguing stories behind their creation.

From the Qur'an written in the blood of Saddam Hussein, to the gorgeously decorated fifteenth-century lawsuit filed by the Devil against Jesus, to the most enormous book ever created, The Madman's Library features many long forgotten, eccentric, and extraordinary volumes gathered from around the world.

Books written in blood and books that kill, books of the insane and books that hoaxed the globe, books invisible to the naked eye and books so long they could destroy the Universe, books worn into battle and books of code and cypher whose secrets remain undiscovered. Spell books, alchemist scrolls, wearable books, edible books, books to summon demons, books written by ghosts, and more all come together in the most curiously strange library imaginable.

Featuring hundreds of remarkable images and packed with entertaining facts and stories to discover, The Madman's Library is a captivating compendium perfect for bibliophiles, literature enthusiasts, and collectors intrigued by bizarre oddities, obscure history, and the macabre.


The Madman's Library was a fascinating read from start to finish. It's an amazing compendium of facts and tales that covers everything from books bound in human skin to the smallest books in the world. The lavish illustrations help to bring the stories of these bizarre books to life, while the prose is both informative and entertaining. This is definitely a work that will appeal to avid bibliophiles and it would make a great talking point as a coffee table read. A worthy addition to the library of any book enthusiast and you're sure to learn something new from its pages.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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