"Georges Ifrah is the man, and this book, quite simply, rules. . . . It is outstanding . . . a mind–boggling and enriching experience."—Guardian (London)
"Monumental . . . a fascinating journey taking us through many different cultures."—The Times (London)
"Ifrah′s book amazes and fascinates by the scope of its scholarship. It is nothing less than the history of the human race told through figures."—International Herald Tribune
A riveting history of numbers from the time of the cave dwellers to the twentieth century, this landmark international bestseller is the first complete, universal study of the invention and evolution of numbers the world over. Georges Ifrah brings numbers to thrilling life, explaining their development in human terms, the interesting situations that made them necessary, and the brilliant achievements in human thought that they made possible. The reader is taken through the numbers story from Europe to China, via ancient Greece and Rome, Mesopotamia, Latin America, India, and the Arabic countries. Exploring the many ways civilizations developed and changed their mathematical systems, Ifrah imparts a unique insight into the nature of human thought—and into how our understanding of numbers and the ways they shape our lives has changed over thousands of years. The engaging text is illustrated with over 150 figures.
George Ifrah (France) is an independent scholar and former math teacher. He has been called the "Indiana Jones" of numbers.