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Simon Winchester Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

In Holy Terror (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
American Heartbeat (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Their Noble Lordships: Class and Power in Modern Britain (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Prison Diary, Argentina (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sun Never Sets: travels to the Remaining Outposts of the British Empire (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Korea: A Walk Through the Land of Miracles (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Rise and Fall of Travel (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pacific Nightmare : How Japan Starts World War III (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pacific Rising: The Emergence of a New World Culture (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hong Kong: Here Be Dragons (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Surgeon of Crowthorne (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Professor and the Madman (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fracture Zone: My Return to the Balkans (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Map That Changed the World (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Meaning Of Everything (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Simon Winchester's Calcutta (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bomb, Book and Compass: Joseph Needham and the Great Secrets of China (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Travel Writing 2009 (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Alice Behind Wonderland (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Man With The Electrified Brain: Story of a Man with an Electrified Brain (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
When the Earth Shakes: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pacific (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
When the Sky Breaks: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and the Worst Weather in the World (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The End of the River (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Knowing What We Know (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
By the Seat of My Pants(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Unsavory Elements(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Simon Winchester is an English journalist and author of History, Nonfiction and Travel novels based in Massachusetts, United States. Through his career working for the British daily newspaper, The Guardian, Winchester covered several significant events including the Watergate Scandal and Bloody Sunday. As an author, he has contributed and written over a dozen non-fiction, and his articles have been featured in various travel publications including Smithsonian Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, and National Geographic.

Born in London, the author attended boarding schools in Dorset. He spends twelve months hitchhiking in the United States and 1963; he joined St. Catherine College in Oxford where he majored in Geology. Winchester graduated in 1966 and was hired by Falconbridge of Africa, and his first task was to work as a field geologist in Uganda.

While on field assignment, Winchester came across a copy of Coronation Everest by James Morris, a book that gave a detailed account of the 1953 expedition that resulted in the first ever successful ascent of Mount Everest. The book inspired Winchester to become a writer, and so he sought advice from the book author by mail. Morris convinced Winchester to give up geology and get a job as a newspaper writer.

Winchester joined The Guardian in 1969 as a regional corresponded located in Newcastle but later promoted to Northern Ireland correspondent. His time in Northern Ireland allowed Winchester to cover events such as Belfast Hour of Terror, The Troubles, and Bloody Sunday.

In 1985, Winchester became a freelance writer and relocated to Hong Kong. His first book In Holy Terror was published in 1975. The book was based on his experiences of the upheavals in Northern Ireland. Winchester’s second book American Heartbeat which details his travels in American heartland was published in 1976. The Professor and the Madman (released in the United Kingdom as The Surgeon of Crowthorne) published in 1998 was Winchester’s first successful book. It tells the story of the creation of the famous Oxford English Dictionary. The title became a New York Times Best Seller. Subsequently, the rights to a movie adaptation were acquired by Mel Gibson.

Even though Winchester still writes travels books, he has adapted the narrative nonfiction form he adopted for The Professor and the Madam. Winchester is a resident of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

The Professor and the Madman

The Professor and the Madman is an exploration of the lives of two men who crafted the Oxford English Dictionary; a book that to this day remains on authority on the English dialect.

The book covers a broad scope; we follow the life of William Chester Minor, from his time as a young man to his time in an asylum for the criminally insane. Then there is Sir James Murray, the main editor of the Oxford Dictionary’s undertakings. Moreover, then the author gives a remarkable means through which the dictionary was written, compiled and published.

The author, Simon Winchester gives a detailed description of the painstaking task of what was need to create a full and comprehensive collection of every single word in the English language.

Even though lexicographers have developed more modern ways of updating the dictionary, the people who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries heavily relied on the primitive techniques at their disposal.

Murray and the group of philologists, who embarked on a journey of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), had a brilliant idea which also the only approach which could make it possible for the completion of such a tiring task. They implored volunteers to read and list down words or any words and provide citations and also quotations on each word. The volunteers would then forward the words to Murray’s Scriptorium for analysis and categorization. Five years later, the first 352 pages where produced- all the English words from A to Ant. This entire project would take more than half a century to complete.

One of the most committed and brilliant volunteers were Dr. William Minor, a man who provides thousands of entries and was considered at that time a lunatic. For decades he spent his days in an asylum, contributing to the dictionary, one task that distracted him from the grandiose and scary delusions.

In writing The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester has carefully researched and investigated to provide precise and accurate details of what it took to create the OED. The story closely relates to the modern project management problems, for instance, the size of the project, the amount of time required to complete and the number of people needed to finish.

The Map That Changed the World

In 1793, a man named William Smith made a shocking discovery. He discovered that by tracing the placement of the fossils that he had uncovered during his excavations, one could follow the layers of rocks as the rose submerge, rose and fell- not only across England but also across the world, thus making it possible for a person to draw a map of the unseen underside of earth.

Determined to show to the world of what he realized was the landscape 4th dimension, Smith spent over two decades piecing together the clues of this unseen grounds to create a remarkably beautiful hand-painted map.

Unfortunately for him, instead of getting praises and honors, he was sent to a debtors prison, accused of plagiarism and became homeless for ten years. It was in 1831 that Smith, (now known as the father of the modern geology) was awarded the Geological Society of London’s best award and King William IV assured him of a lifetime pension.

The Map That Changed the World is a human tale of tolerance and achievement, of one’s man commitment in the face of destruction. With a keen research and thoughtfully detailed description, Simon Winchester crafted a story that showcases the poignant sacrifice surrounding this world-changing discovery. The main character Smith was a man dedicated to his single task, traveled across England to Wale to compile his map, and despite all the struggles, he finally emerges the winner. For the readers who love nonfiction books, full of facts, then Simon Winchester novels are an ideal match.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Simon Winchester

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