The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch Hardcover – 3 Apr 2014
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"As the scouts say – be prepared! Say your prayers that you never need this book" (Bear Grylls)
"A glorious compendium of the knowledge we have lost in the living… This is the most inspiring book I’ve read in a long time" (Peter Forbes Independent)
"An extraordinary achievement... It is a great read even if civilisation does not collapse. If it does, it will be the sacred text of the new world ― Dartnell that world’s first great prophet" (The Times)
"The ultimate do-it-yourself guide to ‘rebooting’ human civilization" (Nature)
"A terrifically engrossing history of science and technology" (Steven Poole Guardian)
"Impeccably researched and beautifully written, The Knowledge makes me proud of all we humans have achieved - and dismayed at how much we have to lose. You need to read this book" (Stephen Baxter)
"Dartnell makes the technology and science of everyday life in our civilization fascinating and understandable. This book may or may not save your life but it'll certainly make it more interesting.
This the book we all wish we'd been given at school: The Knowledge that makes everything else make sense" (Ken MacLeod, author of Descent)
"A marvelously astounding work: In one graceful swoop, Lewis Dartnell takes our multi-layered, interconnected modern world, shows how fragile its scaffolding is, and then lays out a how-to guide for starting over from scratch. Imagine Zombieland told by Neil deGrasse Tyson and you'll get some sense of what a delight The Knowledge is to read" (Seth Mnookin, New York Times bestselling author of The Panic Virus and associate director of MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing)
"A remarkable and panoramic view of how civilization actually works" (Roger Highfield of the Science Museum)
"This book is useful if civilization collapses, and entertaining if it doesn't. After the cometary impact it may save your life, and if it doesn't at least you'll know why you perished" (S. M. Stirling)
A captivating journey of discovery and a quickstart guide to rebuilding our world after the apocalypse.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The ‘apocalypse’ itself described in book was very clinical but this book is not meant to be a blow-by-blow instruction manual. I couldn’t see survivors sitting around it deciding what to do on Day 24. However, it does contain a lot of high level technological insight that a post-apocalyptic Edison or Pasteur might find useful and could spend years of their lives trying to leverage.
The book is apolitical. Its focus is the technology. If you need advice on how to hang on to your post-apocalyptic fiefdom, consult Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and other experts in such matters. Oh, the book doesn’t cover killing zombies either.
Some readers might find the advanced chemistry section a bit of a drudge, but I can’t see how Dartnell could avoid that, given leaving it out would undermine the book’s purpose. On the flip side, it provides useful context for any fledgling chemistry students.
The footnotes throughout the book are consistently very interesting. I think any writer interested in world building would find the book very useful.
One thing to note is that the book is shorter than it appears. About the last 20% is filled with references, including a useful list of relevant fiction.
One final word of advice. If you want to tuck this away for the apocalypse, so you can amaze the other survivors with your scientific knowhow, remember to buy the paperback, not the ebook. Unless you’re really sure you can get those generators up and running.
A manual for restarting civilisation
A fascinating insight into what underpins our way of life
The stuff our grandparents knew and we forgot
Take your pick! It's a good read if you're interested in how things work. I hope they pop a few copies on the shelves along with the seed bank at Svalbard.
It's not a complete manual, for it would have been infeasibly large in that case, but it is a great guide, and being reasonably educated in technology and science, I still learned a lot. In a few cases, you'd like just a bit more explanation, but again, it's one small volume.
In one way, it can also be read as a novel in a unique (to me) second person future tense format- "you are going to............", although don't take that analogy too far.
Later on in the book, it does seem as if LD has got a bit bored, and one or two items are a bit peremptory, but it remains highly enjoyable.
I checked a few numbers which seemed Ok, but I think I spotted one mistake. On p280, he requires that the tube in a glass barometer be a constant diameter- I don't think that's right, as the pressure is affected only by height of a fluid column, not volume. Any thoughts out there? Oh, I think I see now, calibration would be hard if not constant diameter-it wouldn't be linear. Too pedantic as ever.....
A cautionary note; technically, this is a 'work in progress'. I'd hope that the second or third edition will be printed on 'acid free' paper, so endure until required. Similarly, I'd hope this book may spawn a set of supplementary volumes, a modest return to those well-thumbed 'home cyclopaedia' works beloved of grannies and aunts...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very vague, its like an introduction to the book it should have been.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
One day this book may be literally worth killing for, though I hope not.
Well written, clear. The title says it.
Brilliant. The knowledge to rebuild after an apocalypse probably is in this book. Covers a wide range of topics in great depth and explains them well, for the average person to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Matthew
the way the world is going this looks like a good buy, just making my colin furz apocalyptic bunker in the back garden now.Published 4 months ago by Sparkle Designs
I was expecting a bit more of a sociological experiment in how to 'rebuild our world after an apocalypse', something along the lines of a reversal of Alan Wesiman's The World... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael Galvin
Supplier provided this book promptly. Lewis Dartnell is obviously a clever chap but no writer, this is a tough read Being stuck with Lewis in a post apocalyptic world might just be... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Love this book, I now feel like I know practically everything that is of practical usePublished 4 months ago by Alexander T.