One of History’s Finest Class Projects

[x-posted at The Millions]

In the spring of 2006, John Unsworth taught a graduate seminar on “Twentieth-Century American Bestsellers.” It led to one of history’s finest class projects—a browsable database of bestsellers, 337 in all. As with any bestseller lists, you’ll find a range of titles, everything from Thomas Wolfe to Tom Clancy, but each entry includes an extremely detailed description of the book’s history (these were compiled by grad students, after all); a mini-essay on its reception; images of covers, page layouts, even some ads; and much more. It is, in short, bibliophilic crack.

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