The text is poetic while still staying informative and grounded. It is rhythmic in a most satisfactory way. James Rumford (the same author who brought us the wonderful Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs) wrote this book as a series of riddles: “What was made of rags and bones, soot and seeds? What wore a dark brown coat and was filled with gold? What took lead and tin and a mountain to make?” The pictures are superb; all the little characters from medieval Europe come alive with vibrant colors and details. Such a delight to hold and read.
Perhaps best of all, is the fact that the author resisted any temptation to get into biased or spurious historical tales about the printing press and its relevance to the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Church. The book, even down to the informative footnotes, sticks to the aim of honoring this wonderful achievement with a clear and focused story. Another excellent point about this book is that Rumford created a companion guide to go with it. The guide offers even more details on the printing press machinery and times and would make for excellent “living history” reading for anyone studying the late Middle Ages. Click to see images from inside the book on amazon’s site, especially on the hyperlink “Surprise Me” to give you an idea of what you can expect.