Not just an inventory of gizmos and whatsits, this is a responsible
attempt by two British archaeologists (Centuries of Darkness, not
reviewed) to construct an overview of science and technology in
various cultures before 1492. The book, they say, has "one simple
message: Our ancestors, however long ago they may have lived and
whatever part of the globe they may have occupied, were no idiots."
Among the 12 chapter headings are Medicine ("The medical writings
of Cornelius Celsus, who lived under the Emperor Tiberius...include
a detailed description of a cataract operation"); Transportation
(more than 2,000 years ago the Chinese "were making miniature
hot-air balloons from empty eggshells"); and Sex Life ("Ancient
Greek dildos were often made to measure from bread"). With drawings
and photographs. (Kirkus Reviews)
"IT'S CHOCKABLOCK WITH CURIOUS LORE....[James and Thorpe] have amassed scores of persuasive testimonials of primeval ingenuity."
--The Boston Globe
We in the twentieth century tend to assume that our era has a monopoly on the inventions of clever machines, labor-saving devices, feats of engineering, and advanced technology. But as the authors of this fascinating and eye-opening book reveal, some of humankind's most important and most amazing inventions actually date back thousands of years.
Historian Peter James and archaeologist Nick Thorpe have pooled their expertise in amassing this compendium of human ingenuity through the ages. Together they conclusively prove that our ancestors, however long ago they lived and whatever part of the globe they occupied, were brilliant problem-solvers. Written with the pure joy of discovery, Ancient Inventions reveals that:
* Medieval Baghdad had an efficient postal service, banks, and a paper mill.
* Rudimentary calendars were being used in France as early as 13,000 B.C.
* Apartment condominiums rose in deserts of the American Southwest a
thousand years ago.
* The ancient Greeks used an early form of computer.
* Plastic surgery was being performed in India by the first century B.C.
* The Egyptians knew about effective contraceptives.
* Flamethrowers were used in battles waged in tenth-century China.
Brimming with odd facts and entertaining curiosities, written with zest and humor, comprehensive and fun to read, Ancient Inventions is a wonderful celebration of the endless inventiveness of the human mind.
"This presentation of the discoveries and innovations of the ancients will fascinate."
"Thoroughly researched...It is doubtful that anyone could examine [this book] without coming away enlightened in one of its broadly ranging areas."
AN ALTERNATE SELECTION OF THE QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB AND THE NATURAL SCIENCE BOOK CLUB
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