Banvard's Folly: Tales of Renowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity and Rotten Luck

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Picador, Nov 1, 2002 - Eccentrics and eccentricities - 286 pages
2 Reviews

History will long remember the Edisons, Einsteins and Darwins: they succeeded in changing the world, and the world has repaid them by enshrining their names. But what of those others with similarly revolutionary and groundbreaking ideas who plummeted into oblivion? What of the man who invented the N-ray? Or the one who made up a universal singing language? They are gone and forgotton. . . until now.

'Failure is generally a lot more interesting than success . . . this book was only a modest success in America; it deserves to be a huge one here, since we have a better natural empathy with the sweet misery of not being quite good enough at things. Failure's coming home; we should all support it by buying Paul Collins' wonderful book' Mail on Sunday

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Banvard's folly: thirteen tales of renowned obscurity, famous anonymity, and rotten luck

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The eponymous John Banvard was a wealthy, world-famous artist in the 1800s. None of his contemporaries would have suspected that his colorful life and its lessons would be forgotten. A regular ... Read full review

Review: Banvard's Folly

User Review  - Adam - Goodreads

This is truly one of my favorite books ever... makes me wish there was a 6th star in the rating system-- I'd adjust for it. The subjects of these 13 mini-biographies are some of the most fascinating ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Paul Collins is a writer specializing in history, memoir, and unusual antiquarian literature. His nine books have been translated into eleven languages, and include Not Even Wrong: A Father's Journey Into the Lost History of Autism (2004), and The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars (2011). He is a 2009 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction. In 2014, his non-fiction work (Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery) was listed on the New York Times bestseller list. Collins also teaches creative nonfiction as an associate professor in the MFA program at Portland State University.

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