The Books Themselves

Data Post: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. By Charles Mackay. Introduction by Norman Stone. Wordsworth, 1995. 001.9.

This classic catalogue of some of the more outré enthusiasms – speculative, social, religious and just plain daft – serves as a salutary reminder that the follies of mankind are not unique to the modern world. (back cover)

My history with this book: Little to none. Somebody (I forget who) recommended it to me at some time (I forget when) for some reason (I etc.). I checked it out of the library when I was at university out west, but I never did read any part of it.

My history with this copy: Bought it used online a few years ago.

Note: Although I started City of God first, this is the actual “first” book in my library – that is to say, it has the lowest Melvil number and is the first one on the shelf.

Data Post: City of God

City of God (De civitate dei). By Saint Augustine. Translated by Henry Bettenson and with an introduction by G. R. Evans. Penguin, 2003. 239.3.

St Augustine, bishop of Hippo, is one of the central figures in the history of Christianity, and City of God is one of his greatest theological works. Written as an eloquent defence of the faith at a time when the Roman Empire was on the brink of collapse, it examines the ancient pagan religions of Rome, the arguments of the Greek philosophers and the revelations of the Bible. Pointing the way forward to a citizenship that transcends worldly politics and will last for eternity, City of God is one of the most influential documents in the development of Christianity. (back cover)

My history with this book: Nil.

My history with this copy: My dad bought it for me – new – for Christmas ’16. I had asked for it because I wanted to follow along with C. C. Pecknold’s upcoming Twitter seminar.