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Posted July 24, 2012
Just facts (no story or theme) = boring
There are two engineers listed as authors, and yet there contribution must have been minimal. For example, while the use of the arch was a major achievement, the authors state merely that it allowed the builders to span greater distances. There is no mention of the limitations of beams (stress=Mc/I), or lines of thrust nor any engineering. When discussing automatic control, there is no mention of Bode, Nichols, Bellman, or other great contributors to the concept. The discussion ends at the flyball governor, which is where most texts start! Also, facts are listed without any connection other than they are discussing the same technology. For instance, in one paragraph the authors mention the water system in Augsberg, Germany as being fantastic (that is all), but then, in the same paragraph, the authors start discussing a pipeline by Le Roy in France. The thoughts are disconnected and make for difficult, if not tedious, reading. While the reproductions of illustrations are very nice, and the authors did condense a large and varied body of material, the overall feel of the book is that the authors combined a multitude of facts into sections of the different technologies without trying to expound any idea or thesis, or even try to explain why the innovations were important.
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