Peter Mark Roget--polymath, eccentric, synonym aficionado--was a complicated man. He was a scholar obsessed with his work, yet he had an allure that endeared him to his contemporaries--not to mention a host of female admirers. But most notably, he made lists. Roget longed for order in his chaotic world. His father's premature death and the mental illness of his mother and sister threatened to plunge him into his own madness. And so, at the age of eight, he started making lists. From the heavenly bodies to animals, vegetables, and minerals, young Roget began his quest to put everything in its place, one word at a time. Roget lived a colorful life, full of unexpected twists and discoveries: he narrowly avoided jail in Napoleon's France, invented the slide rule, and of course, brought life to the book that would become synonymous with synonyms.--From publisher description.