cover image A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908–2008

A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908–2008

Nicholas A. Basbanes, . . Yale Univ., $26 (222pp) ISBN 978-0-300-11598-7

Over the past 100 years, Yale University Press has ably steered a course through publishing's stormy seas, producing a host of memorable scholarly monographs as well as bestsellers. Bibliophile Basbanes (A Gentle Madness ) offers a glowing tribute, reviewing the press's history from its first book in 1909 (Benjamin W. Bacon's The Beginning of the Gospel Story ) to its recent establishment of a digital edition of Stalin's personal archive. Drawing on interviews and records, Basbanes chronicles the press's growth; the canny decisions to publish definitive collections of the writings of important American figures, such as Benjamin Franklin; and groundbreaking titles like David Reisman's The Lonely Crowd , Paul Tillich's The Courage to Be and Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae . Basbanes captures the personalities of the press's directors, from the first, George Day, to the current one, John Donatich, as well as publication committee members and authors, including historian Edmund S. Morgan and former Yale president A. Bartlett Giamatti. Yale remains a model of publishing vitality, but the internal goings-on of even so prestigious a press will interest only a few. (Oct.)