Here are a few more examples of books that have been let down by the omission of indexes to help their readers find information. My source this time is the New York Journal of Books.
One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One by Lauren Sandler. 2013 Simon & Schuster. The full review is here. The reviewer says …. “Ms. Sandler uses many statistics and statements from such documents to bolster her defense against stereotyping “onlies.” (There is no index in the book and this mitigates any serious intent of Ms. Sandler’s research. Although we do have two pages of a more memoir-like, “A Brief Tour Through My Binders and Bookshelves” in the end pages.)” So if you want a serious book, you need an index!
More Room in a Broken Heart: The True Adventures of Carly Simon by Stephen Davis. 2012 Gotham Books. The full review is here. The reviewer says … “One last quibble: When has a major biography of a major celebrity that weighs in at 432 pages comes into the reader’s hands without an index? And why would the publishing world choose to start with such a sad method (apparently) of cost-cutting now? With this particular book? With such a great story told including such an incredible cast of characters, in anecdotes happy and sad (the implied rivalry—both in terms of careers and personal relationships, especially, at one point for the affections of James Taylor—between Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell is worthy of a book of its own) and often very, very funny, Stephen Davis being a master of the well told anecdote?”. There seem to be many interesting things in that book, but you’ll have to read the lot to find them out, if there was an index the reader could cut straight to them.
Two very different books, both with generally good reviews on that website, but both marked down because they didn’t have an index. What a shame!