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The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Canto Classics) Paperback – Abridged, 29 Mar 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107632757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107632752
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 522,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'This is a good and important book … the author's clear and forceful style makes it a pleasure to read.' The New York Review of Books

Book Description

This edition discusses the changes introduced by the establishment of printing shops and how printing affected major cultural movements: the Renaissance, the Reformation and the rise of modern science. It also demonstrates that the cumulative processes created by printing are likely to persist despite the development of new technologies.

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Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book to read if you are interested in the history of printing. Eisenstein's thesis is that the advent of the printing press is the most logical point at which the medieval period of European history ends and the Renaissance begins. She shows how many so-called innovations in science, religion, and politics were directly related to the ready availability of books - not necessarily to increased brilliance on the part of mankind.
Eisenstein disagrees with scholars who point to the lag between the press and the beginning of the Renaissance as proof that the press did not make an appreciable difference. Books, Eisenstein says, had to accumulate in order to make their presence felt. The lag was due to a sort of scholarly catch-up. First the printers rushed to issue the volumes that many people wanted but had been unable to afford previously. Once those were printed, disparities could become apparent. Scribes freed from the tedious process of copying books had the leisure to notice errors and disagreements among authors which had not been apparent when books were scattered and rare. This process caused a deceptive lag between the advent of the press and real improvements in cartography and science.
The last two chapters of the book were the most interesting to me. Among other things, Eisenstein talks about the way early Protestant printers beefed out their catalogues by referring to the Catholic Index (the list of books forbidden by the Pope). Once Europe became split into Catholic and Protestant nations, the Index had the unexpected effect of boosting sales for books listed on the Index, making some protestant printers their fortunes.
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Interesting read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.1 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful for understand both Reformation and Renaissance 12 Dec. 2010
By James Huffman - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eisenstein's book details how printing changed our world. Not only the way ideas and information were communicated, but how we think, how we do research, how we interact, and even how censorship in one area (e.g., censorship of Protestant writings in Catholic areas inadvertently curtailed scientific publishing as well). She has recognized implications and trends that have not even yet been fully worked through in our culture, and this necessarily limited survey doesn't even touch on other technologies through the centuries since the printing revolution: movable type, telegraph, telephone, computer technology, and the net.

The book can be dry at times (even in this relatively short book, she's covering a lot of material) but it is well worth the reading. To get an idea of how she thinks, this is a useful video featuring her as well:

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 20 Feb. 2017
By Conrad D Johnson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book on a subject that is still too little appreciated.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 24 Nov. 2015
By vicki mayer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nice to see an eversion of a classic
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read 20 Feb. 2015
By Dean Booth - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the most insightful books I've read recently.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 23 Feb. 2015
By Danielle McGregor - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good condition. Worked out well.
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