The Surgeon of Crowthorne

The Surgeon of Crowthorne

A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary


An extraordinary tale of madness, genius and obsession, discover the true story of the two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary - and literary history!

The compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand of those words.

But when the committee insisted on honouring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, a millionaire and American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane . . . charged with murder!

'A weird and wonderful story of an eccentric friendship, and a slice of history' Sunday Times

'What a revelation. Beautifully told and awe-inspiring' Daily Mail

'Simon Winchester could not have told it better . . . a splendid book' Economist

'Masterful . . . one of those rare stories that combine human drama and historical significance' Independent

About the author

Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester has had an award-winning 20 year career as Guardian correspondent. He lives in New York and is the Asia-Pacific Editor for Conde Nast Traveler and contributes to a number of American magazines, as well as the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator and the BBC. He has written numerous books. The River at the Centre of the World (Viking 1997/Penguin 1998) has been shortlisted for the 1998 Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award.
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