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A Short History of Technology: From the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900 [Paperback]

T. K. Derry
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 23.99
Price: 14.62 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Mar 2003
Highly readable, profusely illustrated survey relates technology to history of every age: food production, metalworking, mining, steam power, transportation, electricity, and much more. 354 black-and-white illustrations. 1961 edition.

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A Short History of Technology: From the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900 + Shock Of The Old: Technology and Global History since 1900
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Product details

  • Paperback: 782 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; New edition edition (28 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486274721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486274720
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.8 x 3.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 719,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Invaluable Reference 12 Aug 2009
I have a copy of the old hardback edition, and think there is none better. As its sub-title indicates, it covers the whole span of technological history from "Man Before Civilisation" right through to the first century or so of the Industrial Revolution. It also includes a fair amount of information on agriculture - as should any history of technology.

It is both an excellent book to read in its own right as well as being invaluable as a general reference. I thought it would quickly end up languishing in the back of my bookcase, but I find myself dipping in quite frequently. In fact it is out now, and is what led me to look it up here. I've been looking in to the modern origins and history of electricity This book gives a whole chapter on that, which is concise and easily readable. For anyone interested in what made our industrial society what it is today I can recommend this book without hesitation.
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i didn't get the book still. could anyone help me? It's been almost two months i ordered the book but i could'nt get it.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars but how did all these contraptions actually work.... 21 Sep 2004
By jump___ - Published on Amazon.com
This book surveys the history of vast areas of technological progress (chemicals, mining, agriculture, engines, trains, roads, weapons, printing, what have you), but in each area the information is on the level of a brief encyclopaedia article. Witness the section on "Bridges" (post-industrial revolution to 1900): it is only 9 pages, with the achievements of the Roeblings for example being summarized in 2/3 of a page; and, as with many other areas of inventions, it is very difficult to get, from this capsule treatment, any better than a vague notion of what the key innovations in question involved. One reason for this difficulty in my case is maybe my ignorance of certain terminology here and there, and the book nevertheless manages to explain the technology involved now and then, such as with the use of caissons in bridge-building. Yet too often there is no explanation. Or, when there is, too often it is perfunctory and sheds no light--on tunnel-making techniques for example: "One of the several modes of excavation was to protect the roof of the immediate working-area by timbers drawn forward from a space above the finished lining, their front ends being supported upon posts which rested on a short sill at the bottom of the heading." If you can easily understand what is going on from a description like that, then you will like this book better than I, who still only have the foggiest notion despite best efforts. Or take the example of the brief treatment of reinforced concrete (2 pages): The authors state briefly who did what when (includng numerous details of dates and places that seem to be of pedantic interest only), yet while mentioning such innovations as Mr. Wilkinson's "much more elaborate system of both for embedding iron rods . . . and for reinforcing concrete beams", or Mr. Hennibique's "system of vertical hoop-iron stirrups to resist change of shape by shearing", the book leaves one wondering, But just what ARE these things? As to the illustrations again, one of the editorial reviews says the book is loaded with illustrations, and it is, but they are all small and rather coarse and, like the book generally, they give you a sense more of the general shape and look of things, as opposed to how they actually worked. There are very few cutaways or other diagrammatic pictures in this book. With cars, for example, why can't we have just one simple diagram of an early internal combustion engine, instead of pics of frail carriage-like cars that we've already seen.

I suppose I'm just the wrong audience for this book--I got it as a casual reader who just wanted to know a little more about how certain famous contraptions actually worked (like the spinning jenny--incomprehensible from this book), or why exactly is Brunel considered a great genius, that sort of thing. This is not the book for questions like that. Maybe I could see a fan of James Burke's Connections or Day the Universe Changed looking up a book like this, to follow up, but, if so, the best one can get from this book is sort of a broad historical matrix, where you'd have to ply other sources of information to fill in all the gaps where the real interest lies. Or maybe one could sort of skim through the book for an uplifting, if vague, sense of Man's Progress. Apart from this, it's difficult to see this book appealing to people except as a reference work, combining in one place all the encyclopaedia info on the histories of printing, mining, textiles, etc. etc.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a summary book 13 Feb 2007
By Gunds Elf - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a summary of multi-tome, enclyclopedic History of technology series of books. Thats why some other review states that the information seems somewhat faulty. The non-summary books, wich encompases 6 volumes of about 600 pages each, are very well written and detailed, with descriptions of why some advancement was important in historical and practical terms. This summary book is useful only in the context of being aware of the complete set of books, as a fast reference for those who already have studied the History of technology by other means.
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