- New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2012.
- 6 x 9.25 inches
- 496 pages
- ISBN: 9781584563075
Price: $59.95 other currencies
Order Nr. 108954
Australia's greatest book collector, David Scott Mitchell, gave his extraordinary library and a bequest for its development to the people of Sydney and the world. Book Life: The Life and Times of David Scott Mitchell, by Eileen Chanin, is the first comprehensive account of his life and collecting, told through books, readings, and contemporary correspondence.
Mitchell was a man of astoundingly diverse interests whose collection was not merely for show or posterity, but was, in fact, his own personal reading library. Thus, we can learn much about him by examining his books. Previously labeled as an enigma and portrayed as recluse, Mitchell's true self is revealed through this book. Many books in his collection were written by people he knew, and letters reveal a more socially connected Mitchell than ever seen before. Chanin also delves into the historical events he lived through and their impact on his life and collection.
The growth of Australia from an island of criminals to a legitimate nation happened almost literally during Mitchell's lifetime. Mitchell collected books on Australian history before it was even studied at Melbourne University. Without his contributions, it is unlikely that a full history of Australia could be written.
In the foreword, Bob Carr, former Premier of New South Wales, praises Mitchell's benevolence and hails the Mitchell Library as the "DNA of Australia." The story of his life and collection is important to the story of Australia as a nation and is "in danger of slipping from history."
This book features dozens of color illustrations and black-and-white photographs. Also included are notes, bibliography, index, a list of dramatis personae and several family trees.
The first edition sold out within six months - ahead of news that the book was awarded the 2011 Alex Buxo Prize and shortlisted for the prestigious Waverley Library Award for Literature sponsored by the Copyright Agency Limited's Cultural Fund. The book was also one of five books shortlisted for the 2012 Magarey Medal for Biography, awarded by the Australian Historical Association.
Available in Australia from Australian Scholarly Publishing.