From an Amazon reader review: "Spanning the long period from ancient times, when books were hand-copied, to the modern day, "A Gentle Madness" takes us on a strange and exciting journey through the world of rare book collectors. Our society owes a lot to book collectors. Determination, time, and money have enabled them to seek out and preserve rare books, manuscripts, documents, and letters of profound cultural and historical importance. Many of the most noted collectors have ultimately given their world-class libraries to colleges and universities, where the fruits of their labor have benefited generations of scholars and researchers. This book demonstrates, in a colorful manner, how book collectors are driven to seek out new acquisitions for their libraries. For some, it is a consuming passion. For a few, it is a dangerous obsession that forces them to sacrifice the basic amenities of life, or even break the law. Nicholas Basbanes not only introduces readers to book collectors throughout history, but also to the books themselves, and to the methods employed to obtain rare books."