The Man Who Made Lists

The Man Who Made Lists

Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget’s Thesaurus

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Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780425225899
  • 320 Pages
  • Berkley
  • Adult


In the tradition of The Professor and the Madman, a “brisk and vivid”( Los Angeles Times) account of an obsessive scholar.

Polymath, eccentric, and synonym aficionado, Peter Mark Roget had a host of female admirers, was one of the first to test the effects of laughing gas, invented the slide rule, and narrowly escaped jail in Napoleon’s France. But Roget is best known for making lists.

After the tragic turmoil of his early life (both his mother and sister were institutionalized), Roget longed for order in his chaotic world. At the age of eight, he began his quest to put everything in its rightful place, one word at a time. This is the fascinating story of a driven man and a brilliant scholar-and the legacy he has left for generations.


“Brisk and vivid, with Kendall coloring between the lines left by history.”
-Los Angeles Times

“Kendall’s style…gets the job done with sympathy and speed.”
-New York Times

“Well written and persuasive.”
-Washington Post