29 Sep 2013

Stamps??

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IndieBound sings its praises:

A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps tells the rich, layered, and breathtaking history of England through thirty-six of its fascinating, often beautiful, and sometimes eccentric postage stamps. West shows that stamps have always mirrored the events, attitudes, and styles of their time. Through them, one can glimpse the whole epic tale of an empire unfolding. From the famous Penny Black, printed soon after Queen Victoria’s coronation, to the Victory! stamp of 1946, anticipating the struggle of postwar reconstruction—A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps is a hugely entertaining and idiosyncratic romp, told in Chris West’s lively prose.

On their own, stamps can be curiosities, even artistic marvels; in this book, stamps become a window into the larger sweep of history.

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Sadie O. Stein, in Paris Review, also praises it.

I have a terrible feeling that A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps may be a hard sell for some readers. But trust me: Chris West’s cultural history is fast paced and engaging, and the organizing principle takes the narrative in all kinds of unexpected directions. Sure, there’s a little light philately in there, but even those who only communicate electronically will be glad they picked it up.

So I guess I have to read it, despite having zero interest in stamps.

Via Madame Scherzo.

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