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Ancient Inventions


Ancient Inventions

4.4 (1827)

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    Available in PDF Format | Ancient Inventions.pdf | English
    Peter & Nick Thorpe James(Author)
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3.2 (12991)
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Review Text

  • By A. Customer on 22 June 2008

    The idea that the first books on robotics were written by the Ancient Greeks, or that electric batteries were first used in ancient Mesopotamia might sound like the sort of nonsense concocted by pseudo-archaeologists like Erich Von Daniken. Yet Peter James and Nick Thorpe shows us that these inventions were very real, and that our ancient ancestors were a lot cleverer than we originally supposed.From the days of the Neanderthals in 60,000 BC up until Columbus's discovery of the New World in 1492, we are taken on a tour of some the brilliant inventions and ideas of the past. Did you know that Neanderthals could perform a basic type of brain surgery called trepanation? Or that the first calenders were made by Paleolithic people around 20,000 years ago?If not, then this book will be a real eye opener.The authors cover a mass of subjects, ranging from medicine; transportation; food, drink and drugs; Sport and leisure; military technology; sex life; urban life; communications; personal effects; agriculture and mining; and finally high tech gadgets.Using a wealth of sources and a diverse team of experts (including astronomers, architects, engineers, musicians, geologists and linguists), the authors show and explain how these technologies and items worked.It is a testament to the achievements of our predecessors that the book doesn't cover all of their inventions. For instance the medieval inventor Al-Jaziri's hydraulic and mechanical devices aren't mentioned, even though some of them rivalled 20th century engineering in their ingenuity. The book also fails to mention his invention of the torpedo.It is also a shame that the book does not mention the philosophical ideas of the ancients, as many scholars such as Democritus of Abdera hypothesised the existence of atoms.That aside, this is the definitive guide to ancient ideas and technology available today. The book is well illustrated with hundreds of black and white photos and drawings, while the text is readable and packed full of fascinating facts.If you've ever wondered who invented spectacles, why we live with cats and dogs, when we started living in houses, or where chocolate was created, then this book will answer your questions.

  • By Liam Devany on 1 April 2008

    I found this a deeply satisfying book. I was amazed at just how many inventions we assume as being relatively modern but were in existence thousands of years back - even batteries! It makes you wonder just how much the human race has really progressed over the millenia - when so many great ideas have been destroyed or lost simultaneously.It's a book i like to come back to every now and again after the first read to refresh my memory. You will become a more interesting person after reading this book as it will open up a greater awareness of the true achievements mankind /the individual has been capable of - and hopefully will continue to be.

  • By Rebecca Alcock on 15 January 2009

    If you are interested in History at all, you must buy this book, it is truly excellent. It has so many interesting things to read about and it has little snippets of humour that are a nice touch. It has interesting illustrations throughout, just warn your friends and family because you will be coming out with facts from this book for months to follow, they may get sick of it!

  • By Captain Kirk on 12 February 2012

    despite two criticisms, below, i had to give this book five stars. a truly fascinating book that looks at pre-modern - ie before the renaiscance - technology. Writing, transport, farming, mining, houses, locks, medicine and many more topics are coverd.- the lot. And acroas the world to - as most of the inventions seem to have arisen in the middle east, india, china or the americas.two complaints - the illustrations and photos are all black and white. that may at times make them clearer but this sort of book lends itself to colour images. the paper it is printed on is surprisingly cheap and nasty as well.The science behind the inventions could be explained in more detail - the chemical rections involved, the way metals are smelted, the techniques used.But this is still an outstanding read for both those interested in history and science.

  • By m1981 on 5 July 2013

    This isn't exactly a review of this book (which I actually found very interesting) but more a warning that the author is not the same Peter James who has written many crime novels. This book appears on many lists of his books, but it was in fact written by an historian with the same name. The two Peters have different websites and different Wikipedia pages. I bought this book thinking it was by the novelist, only to find it wasn't. However, like I said, I did actually find it interesting and informative.

  • By richard on 27 January 2016

    A great book with many interesting with lots of fascinating inventions from the ancient world.Presented in a easy to read format with diagrams and photographs

  • By N.P.Collins on 18 October 2016

    up to Peter James usual high standards

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