Hi Dr Lewis,
I've also read the book. I don't understand what all the fuss is about? The title says "The Golden Age of Arabic Science", and I don't see the reason why he should dedicate parts of his book to discuss dams, aqueducts and water-raising machines, as these constructions involve the use of mathematical and scientific principles (which engineers apply). The book title and contents suggest that it is about 'natural sciences' and NOT 'applied science'. Therefore, he is right, to briefly mention the construction of a paper mill. ..
I think the point he is trying to make is, if it wasn't for the Muslim world translating manuscripts and improving existing 'natural sciences', then we would probably still think the Earth was at the center of the 'universe' etc....Furthermore, if it wasn't for the House of wisdom churning out translated books about the 'natural sciences' in quick succession, then the very same things you are making such a fuss about would probably be in disrepair, total ruins or not exist at all... It makes me wonder if you are an engineer by making such a fuss, as you seem to have a lot of passion for the subject?
In regard to the book not mentioning crucial manuscripts in detail - is plain 'nitpicking'.. Your job obviously involves report making or some form of investigation work, as you have clearly over analysed the book.
For me, the book hits all the main points (without going into too much detail), and therefore, I get the full understanding of the book......