The Book of William: How Shakespeares First Folio Conquered the World Audiobook, by Paul Collins Play Audiobook Sample

The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World Audiobook

The Book of William: How Shakespeares First Folio Conquered the World Audiobook, by Paul Collins Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Tim Getman Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 0 hours and 00 min. at 1.5x Speed 0 hours and 00 min. at 2.0x Speed Release Date: September 2022 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9798200991143

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

44:48 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

10:41 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

22:21 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Paul Collins: > View All...

Publisher Description

The first popular narrative history of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the world’s most obsessively pursued book

One book above all others has transfixed connoisseurs for four centuries—a book sold for shillings in the streets of London, whisked to Manhattan for millions, and stored deep within the vaults of Tokyo. The book: William Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623. Paul Collins, lover of odd books and author of the national bestseller Sixpence House, takes up the strange quest for this white whale of precious books.

Broken down into five acts, each tied to a different location and century, The Book of William’s travelogue follows the trail of the Folio’s curious rise: a dizzying Sotheby’s auction on a pristine copy preserved since the seventeenth century, the Fleet Street machinations of the eighteenth century, the nineteenth-century quests for lost Folios, obsessive acquisitions by twentieth-century oilmen, and the high-tech hoards of twenty-first-century Japan. Finally, Collins speculates on Shakespeare’s cross-cultural future as Asian buyers enter their Folios into the electronic ether, and recounts the book’s remarkable journey as it is found in attics, gets lost in oceans and fires, is bought and sold, and ultimately becomes immortal.

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“Collins has done it again. This history—spanning the globe and 400 years in the life and fortunes of one of the most famous books in the English language—is not the dry province of historians, bibliophiles, and antiquarians…Witty, detailed, and highly entertaining, it will be appreciated by fans of Shakespeare, history, or human folly.”

— Library Journal 


  • “[A] lively and entertaining history of one of the most important books in English literature.”

    — New York Times Book Review
  • “Gleefully astonishing…Collins provides one of the most enjoyable examples of a most enjoyable genre, the book biography, as he tells the stories of individual Shakespeare first folios, their owners, their uses, and their travels. It’s a supremely enlightening journey that Collins’ convivial manner makes thoroughly gratifying.”

    — Booklist
  • “Exemplary scholar-adventurer writing.”

    — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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About Paul Collins

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over a thousand titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.