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Water Technology in the Middle Ages: Cities, Monasteries, and Waterworks after the Roman Empire (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology) Hardcover – 4 Dec 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (4 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080186626X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801866265
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 598,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A concise but illuminating examination of the period's advanced hydraulic engineering... Writing in a scholarly yet graceful and nearly literary style, Magnusson brings a niche topic to life and her treatment is refreshingly devoid of verbosity, a common fault of books of this type. Instead, what comes through is an engaging, intelligent story and study of a fundamental technical challenge that we still struggle with, albeit in different ways, 700 to 800 years later.

(Civil Engineering)

Well-written and well-organized... Throughout, [Magnusson's] documentation is careful and substantial, and she does a fine job of placing the history of water technology securely within its economic, social, and political context.

(William H. TeBrake H-France)

The particular value of this book lies in the convincing way Magnusson describes how medieval water systems functioned in differing social situations; the technological history is framed by general history very skillfully.

(Petra J. E. M. van Dam Technology and Culture)

A detailed look at gravity-flow water systems... Magnusson weaves together a wealth of information otherwise available only in scattered regional and archaeological studies.

(Charles W. Clark History: Reviews of New Books)

A richly interesting book on an unlikely topic.

(Virginia Quarterly Review)

A well-written and carefully structured account of the provision of the medieval water supply.

(Christopher Allmand Historian)

An admirably comprehensive and systematic summary of the technology of medieval water systems.

(Journal of Interdisciplinary History)

Magnusson has combed through the scattered evidence to provide us with a clear picture of the builders and users of medieval water systems. This is a well-written work, a sound piece of scholarship, and the most comprehensive account of this subject to date.

(Terry Reynolds, Michigan Tech University)

A fascinating introduction to the study of medieval complex water delivery systems.

(Thomas F. Glick Speculum)

About the Author

Roberta J. Magnusson is an assistant professor in the Department of History at University of Oklahoma.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is no question that the author has done his research and writes intelligently. I thought from the title that the book would be more technical than it is. I could not find where it discussed the technology used to produce pipes, taps, etc. The author talks about taps being made of latten, but while taps are included in the index, latten is not. The author instead focuses on the water, for example,he discusses the problem of hydraulic hammer caused by turning a tap off too quickly and how to counter it, but not how it works or exactly how it damages pipes, just that it does. He discusses the layout of the plumbing in buildings, who had it, who did not, and where the water came from. There are very few illustrations in the book. If you are interested in water supply in the Middle Ages, then this book will probably be interesting. If you want to recreate Medieval plumbing fixtures, this book will probably be disappointing.
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