- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Bodley Head (3 April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847922279
- ISBN-13: 978-1847922274
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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
Top Customer Reviews
In most respects, it is absolutely what it should be - it's not just a book that tells you about core technologies and processes, it's a book that highlights how much we take for granted about modern society. Every chapter in that respect is a humbling experience - I realised how little I knew outside of my own fields of specialism. That said, it's not an easy read - it's information dense, and parts of it need to be properly studied and digested. That's inevitable in a book like this, of course, but the corresponding impact of that is to highlight the holes in the explanation where the necessary thinking and discussion isn't fully joined up. I know the book doesn't legitimately purport to be a genuine start up guide' for post-apocalyptic society, but I think it could have benefited more from some proper coherent structuring and cross-referencing.
But, a book I found utterly absorbing and well worth a place on anyone's physical bookshelf. If there are enough copies of these around when the zombies inevitably come upon us, we might find things a little easier to start up once more.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In some ways this is a great book - great concept and good coverage of how you might re-start civilisation again. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tim
Competent, readable, thoughtful, thorough take on what we could do to replicate what we do now,
if most of us are wiped out by an epidemic from an engineer who knows his stuff... Read more