The past is a nightmare, we can’t erase it. It’s important to preserve historical documents, to make them available, and to let them teach us the terrible lessons of history. But, as a bookseller, what do you do when the contents of these documents are truly vile? Is it ethical to make a profit by selling a photograph of the victims of Nazi concentration camps? Or to keep a book on bomb making in circulation? And should you eschew the controversial novels of today when they tend to become the classics of tomorrow? Join us for an exploration of these thorny issues on this week’s #brattlecast.
A family wedding in Kenya inspires Ken to start reading about Africa-and thinking about the book collections that could be made up of works about this vast and varied continent. From the early exploration narratives of the 1700's to the novels of Ernest Hemingway and Isak Dinesen, the possibilities are almost as diverse as Africa is.
He voyaged with Captain Cook, escaped from college via canoe, and attempted to walk across Russia. But, most importantly for our purposes, he also wrote a plain looking, easily discarded book, some volumes of which contain an extremely valuable map. He's John Ledyard, the most interesting New England character you've never heard of and the author of Captain Cook's Voyages, the book we should all be scouring yard sales for!
Founded in 1635, Boston Latin School is the oldest public school in the United States, and boasts many famous graduates, including Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, and Leonard Bernstein. One could build a collection consisting entirely of works by and about its illustrious alumni, as Ken suggests to one of his former Boston Latin classmates during a seemingly fairly raucous high school reunion. Plus, some tips on insuring your own rare book collection.
It was a year of violent upheaval and exuberant social change: 1968. Ken takes us there through a unique collection of books, letters, photographs, magazines, newspapers, and more, all to do with this tumultuous time in American history. It's a great example of an unusual collecting style but also an eerie and inspiring mirror of our present moment.