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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ship It: Lignières History Book Published

To my mind there are few phrases as satisfying as, when at the conclusion of a protracted, difficult, and exasperating development project the moment comes when you utter the magic words “ship it” and then step back to to await the reaction of the customers.

After four years of organising a foundation, fundraising, identifying source documents, recruiting more than thirty authors, photographing everything from a couverture.jpg forged Papal Bull (“Papal bulls**t?”) dating from A.D. 1179 to the site where a German bomber crashed in 1940 after violating Swiss airspace and being shot down by a Swiss Army Messerschmitt 109, today the first history published since 1801 of Lignières, Fourmilab's home village, shipped to those who pre-ordered it. Lignières, un village aux confins de trois Etats (ISBN 2-88256-166-X) grew, as many software development projects do, from a modest 160-odd pages to a total of 220, with 168 illustrations, 74 in colour. A DVD Video/ROM hybrid disc is attached to the back cover: if placed in a DVD Video player, a variety of films, both historical and produced expressly for this publication (including my own Les Quatre Saisons) can be viewed. If the disc is loaded in a computer DVD-ROM drive, a large collection of original source documents for the book can be consulted: this is a history book which lets you “look under the hood” and examine the sources, many from obscure archives, which the historians used in writing the book.

The book was rolled out at a village meeting tonight: this picture shows only a portion of the audience, and recall that this is a village of less than a thousand residents! The photo was taken just after the unveiling of the restored enseigne of the Hôtel de Commune, which is visible to the left to the projection screen. You can click the close-up image at the left for an enlargement which shows the sign in all its re-gilded glory. Next spring it will take its place in the centre of the village where you can see it, almost a century before (look to the left of the clock tower at the level of the first storey windows), in our Lignières: Then and Now pages—next year the “now” photo will once again include this Lignières landmark!

If you type the ISBN number for this book into an Amazon search box, even at Amazon.fr, it will come up blank: Swiss high-end publishers are not indexed by Amazon, even though seemingly every vanity press and self-published screed in the U.S. is included in their database—go figure. If you're in Switzerland, it's easy to order this book; just visit the page and click “[Commander]” If you're not, I'd suggest you fill out the order form and provide them contact information to arrange payment if you don't have access to the frighteningly efficient Swiss electronic payment system—perhaps a postal money order will work.

Posted at December 14, 2006 23:11