Today it is the most valuable book in the world—one First Folio recently sold for over $5 million—and rescued the name of William Shakespeare from oblivion. When the playwright died in 1616, half of his plays died with him. Years later his former business partners and fellow actors John Heminges and Henry Condell gathered copies of the manuscripts and edited them into the First Folio as a memorial, little guessing that it would become one of the most important books in the English language, eventually inspiring obsession in such collectors as American industrialist Henry Clay Folger. Economist Andrea Mays, herself admittedly obsessed with the Bard, tells the miraculous story of the making of the First Folio, and Folger's pursuit of it.
"A riveting narrative history about Shakespeare taking root in America. Every page sparkles with crisp prose and smart insights. I find myself cheering for Henry Folger to procure the treasured First Folios."—Douglas Brinkley