From the Publisher. Any serious book collector (and the most serious belong to The Grolier Club, that pre-eminent New York shrine) harbors a latent penchant for lists.
These lists are usually generated in neat doses of one hundred titles. Here then (at least in the opinions of Messrs. Hutner and Kelly) are the hundred greatest printed books of the twentieth century. Given another pair of editors, you'd probably be offered a different list, but this one serves and serves well, for it concentrates not only on the recognized chestnuts, but also lesser-known, and often exceedingly récherché volumes that have left their mark. It is noteworthy that only two books in the survey were printed by offset; the rest are all letterpress. And although America is strongly represented, there are also selections from Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Wales, and Switzerland. Every book is illustrated in fine line duotone, many in color, and best of all, the captions that accompanied the original Grolier exhibit have been transcribed intact. In the two prefatory essays, Hutner has provided a convincing defense of his choices (1900–1948), and Kelly, a spirited apologia for his (1949–1999).