Millennium book hits Christmas book markets

  • 1999-12-16
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis
KAUNAS/VILNIUS - A new, solid book about Lithuania, "The Book of the Millennium," has hit Christmas book markets. It can be the perfect choice for a Christmas gift. The book is issued in six languages: Lithuanian, English, German, Polish, Russian and French.

The hard cover of the book is embossed in golden letters and has plenty of colorful illustrations in its 411 pages. History, cultural heritage, natural resources, science, arts, business, administrative units, Lithuanian emigration and other spheres of Lithuanian life are covered by specialists in these fields.

The book mentions the first inhabitants of Lithuania in 10000 B.C. but concentrates mostly on the last 1,000 years of the Lithuanian state. The first precise date in this book is Feb. 14, 1009, as mentioned by a German chronicler: "St. Bruno, an archbishop and monk, who was called Boniface, was struck in the head by Pagans during the 11th year of his conversion at the Russian and Lithuanian border."

The latest date in the book is June 10, 1999, when "the government cabinet of Lithuania under Prime Minister Conservative Rolandas Paksas took an oath in Parliament and started its activities."

Now Lithuania has another prime minister - Conservative Andrius Kubilius. The book was issued before he took office in Oct. 1999.

One of the interesting chapters contains portraits and short biographies of 100 distinguished people of Lithuania of this millennium.

Eight leading Lithuanian historians selected the list which starts with 13th century ruler Mindaugas who "received the crown from the pope and involved the Lithuanian Kingdom in the political system of Catholic Europe." The chronological list ends with Vytautas Kavolis, Lithuanian-American sociologist and journalist who died in Vilnius in 1996.

The firm Krastotvarka from Kaunas published the book. The project's concept and implementation is by Steponas Maculevicius.

"The book provoked big interest in the traditional biggest world book fair in Frankfurt, Germany, in October of this year. I was there and it didn't look as if something similar were issued by other neighboring nations. Only the Poles issued a book about their last millennium," Maculevicius said. He also spoke about the reasons of popularity of his latest production among foreign book traders at the fair.

"Printing quality of Lithuanian books is of the highest world level. The

problem of our country's publishers is the Lithuanian language which is

understood abroad by very few and there are not many translators from

Lithuanian in other countries. It is why foreigners, coming to the

Lithuanian section at the Frankfurt fair, first of all were interested in "The Book of the Millennium" because it has versions in several languages," Maculevicius said.

There are 18,000 copies of this book issued in Lithuanian, 7,000 in

English, 1,500 each in German and Polish, and 1,000 each in Russian and French.

Maculevicius said that the Spanish version has also been prepared but not published yet. Book publishing is not only a cultural activity but also business. Maculevicius said that market research showed that it would not be of big interest in the Spanish world. There are not many Spanish-speakers in Lithuania.

"'The Book of the Millennium' is being sold well. There is also big interest abroad. For example, just recently I received a request for this book from the Leipzig library," Maculevicius said.

The price of book is 148 litas ($37).

"We sell on average one book per day. It is not bad for such expansive book," Akademine Knyga, saleswoman at the Vilnius bookshop, said.