Andrew Robinson has written twenty-five books in a wide range of subjects: science and the history of science; ancient scripts, writing systems and archaeological decipherment; and Indian history and culture. They include six biographies: of the physicist Albert Einstein and the polymath Thomas Young; of the decipherers Jean-Francois Champollion (Egyptian hieroglyphs) and Michael Ventris (Minoan Linear B); and of the writer Rabindranath Tagore and the film director Satyajit Ray. His latest book is India: A Short History. See http://andrew-robinson.org/
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A readable, informative overview10 July 2004
M. A Michaud
- Published on Amazon.com
This extensively illustrated book tells general, interested readers as much about the origins and nature of different types of writing as most will want to know. The short, concise chapters, typically two pages long, range over subjects as diverse as Sumerian cuneiform and modern standardized signs for travelers. The author devotes particular attention to Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese characters, though he provides less adequate coverage of writing systems used on the Indian subcontinent. Throughout, he emphasizes the distinction between writing systems based on sounds (alphabets) and those using symbols to represent things or concepts. He makes the intriguing point that some written languages have mixed the two together.