The Man Who Made Lists wants to be Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman. It isn't. It would probably settle for being Everything Explained That is Explainable. It isn't that, either. Joshua Kendall spends way too little time on the Thesaurus itself. He spends way too much time on psychoanalyzing Roget, frequently on the flimsiest of evidence. At various points he tells us not only how a conversation went, but what expressions were on people's faces or even what they were thinking. Since there are no end notes, there's no way to know on what basis (if any) Kendall makes these assertions. Buried in the end matter, however, is this:
Though all the scenes are based on actual events, in several instances, where primary source material was lacking, I offered my best approximation of specific details."Based on actual events," huh?