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Publisher's Summary

Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor - that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, England's harshest asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters.
©1998 Simon Winchester (P)1999 HarperCollins Publishers Inc., All Rights Reserved, Harper Audio, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers
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Critic Reviews

"The linguistic detective story of the decade." (New York Times Magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jerry on 07-07-03

Perfect example of a quality audible book.

Simon Winchester presents us with an amazing story about a piece of history that I would have never considered interesting or significant. The accomplishment of the combined efforts of the two main characters Minor & Murray added to scores of other volunteers is one if not the greatest achievement in the history of the English language.

The story is presented in a very logical yet unassuming manner, and maybe the perfect example of an audible book selection. The narrators voice is crisp, clear, and expressive.

Listen, enjoy, and recommend to a friend.

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92 of 93 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By nancy udell on 02-25-04

A delightful work

Simon Winchester is delightful and engaging, intelligent and insightful. This is a wonderful read (listen). I loved his understated irony and his many flashes of brilliant insight into human nature and history, not to mention attention to detail without being pedantic at all. Winchester brings a surprisingly spiritual point of view to this surprising and touching story. The only disappointment is the interview with the current editor of the OED who shows himself a bore- far outclassed by Winchester's nuance.

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43 of 44 people found this review helpful

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