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It arrives

I missed the FedEx guy, who has eluded me once more, but Christopher tripped over the huge box on the porch and staggered upstairs with it. I unpacked it onto the kitchen table, and…well, here it is. The first pass, with the stack of copyedited manuscript (sent back for comparison purposes) next to it.

And then I had a quick leaf through it, just to see how the book design came out. It’s very similar visually to The Well-Educated Mind; here’s the front page (as with all photos on this blog, click for a larger version):

and one of the pages with an inset map.

The first pass is a stack of manuscript pages, not a bound book, but here’s how the pages will look side by side.

I hauled it down to my office this morning. My desk is already covered with two different phases of the medieval history,

and I’m enjoying myself sorting through barbarian invasions and crumbling Roman administrative systems, so I couldn’t quite bear to clear it all away. I’ll lose momentum if I stop working on the Middle Ages. Fortunately, I’ve been given until September 19 to return the first pass. Unheard-of luxury! So I’ve exiled the first pass to the corner.

I’ll start on it next week. If I leave it on the floor, maybe I can keep working along on the medieval MS at the same time. That would help me stay sane. Reading through the first pass is excruciating. Your work always sounds cheesy and boring when you’re hunting for mistakes. It’s also frustrating to spot errors on pages you’ve already been through again and again. Just checking through the first pass to make sure that all the illustrations were set in, I saw a HUGE ENORMOUS blunder on the temporary chart in Chapter 85, which still needs to be typeset. How did I miss this? I’ve only glanced at it a dozen times. Here it is on the page:

and here’s a clearer view:

I bet YOU can see the huge blunder, can’t you?

These are the pages that go into the bound galleys, unfortunately, so the reviewers will all get THIS version of the chart. Hope that they remember to check their review against the final copy of the book…