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The basis for the research presented here is the letter book of the Charleston Library Society containing both sides of the correspondence involved in ordering books from London in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The result is a fascinating history, supported throughout by excerpts from the letters, chronicling the mishaps of shipping overseas, the various types of books ordered, the details of financing, the 18th-century scientific community, and a detailed discussion of the Charleston Library Society. Raven teaches social and cultural history at Oxford U., UK. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)