For 2016 Author Robert McCrum has compiled a list of the 100 best non-fiction books. These are “key texts in English that have shaped our literary culture and made us who we are”, in the Anglo-American English language tradition, the list covers “essential works of philosophy, drama, history, science and popular culture”. A quick look to see if there are indexes in any of them and what might be interesting about those indexes.
Number 13 is The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer (1970) – alas no index in the current edition.
No 14 is Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom by Nik Cohn (1969) – the 2001 edition available on Amazon does have an index. Nice and straightforward, the titles of songs are in italic font. Some entries have too many locators – for example the “Beatles, The” entry has 50, some of which could have been merged as the band was mentioned over several pages, even if not continuously – for example 202-5, rather than individual entries for each page. It may be more ‘correct’ to index each page separately if there is information about other bands or things in between, but it might be easier for the reader if they are linked together, especially if a linking subheading could be found for them.
No 15 – The Double Helix by James D Watson (1968) – the 2001 edition visible on Amazon makes you do without I’m afraid.
No 16 – Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag (1966) – a collection of essays and without an index.
No 17 – Ariel by Sylvia Plath (1965) – a collection of poems – again nothing visible on Amazon in either edition.