Treasures from the Library: What’s Wrong with the World.

As I was wrapping up for the day and waiting for my ride on Saturday, I indulged in a little hunting amoung the incoming books. Spoiler alert: lots of Civil War history, lots of Church history. I was on a mission, however, to find interesting books. Heraldry is nice and all, but it doesn’t necessarily merit its own write up, especially when the books are all mass market volumes.

Among the slim encyclicals and the fatter books about long fought battles, I spied the tell tale spine of an early 20th century hardback. I’ve run across so many in the last few weeks that I can spot them on sight. Not the most useful skill in the wider world but quite useful

Adding some color to spring up the place, alongside our lovely volume

in my line of work. The thing I love about books from 1890 to about 1920 is the fact that they’re so sturdy. These things stand up better than some of the books I’ve run across from the 1960’s and 1970’s. But I digress.

I was not wrong in identifying the hardback in question. The publication year was 1910, making the book in question another 1st edition Chesterton. The work in question is “What’s Wrong with the World” and no, I did not leave off the question mark at the end. The title is quite declarative. The book is said to have spawned from a letter that Chesterton wrote to a newspaper (generally considered to be The Times). The paper posed the question to a good many writers of the day “What’s Wrong with the World?” and Chesterton wrote to them: “I am.”The book spans a variety of topics, including homelessness, imperialism, and education.

The volume we have is in shockingly good condition– there are no obvious marks or dings, no underlining or marginalia, and the smallest among of shelf wear on the corners. The previous owner clearly took care of his books. Because this book was part of the incoming donations, it is not yet processed into the collection or available for checkout. We do have other copies available for checkout in, located in the Newman Room as part of the Collected Works of Chesterton. Additionally, because the book is out of copyright, there is a free eBook copy available through Project Gutenberg.

Another hallmark of the early 20th century, there’s always a fun little drawing or imprint on the title page

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