The Best Tool of the Millennium The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by "The New York Times, " whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." An award-winning author who once built a house using only hand tools, Rybczynski has intimate knowledge of the toolbox -- both its contents and its history -- which serves him beautifully on his quest. "One Good Turn" is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry. Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope -- in short, no enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization.
Witold Rybczynski has written about architecture for The New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. He is the architecture critic for Slate, and is the author of the critically-acclaimed book Home and the award-winning A Clearing in the Distance. His latest book is The Biography of a Building. He is the recipient of the National Building Museum's 2007 Vincent Scully Prize. He lives with his wife in Philadelphia, where he teaches at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.
Read his blog at http://www.witoldrybczynski.com.