Ancient Inventions

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"IT'S CHOCKABLOCK WITH CURIOUS LORE....[James and Thorpe] have amassed scores of persuasive testimonials of primeval ingenuity."
--The Boston Globe
We in the twentieth century tend to assume that our era has a monopoly on the inventions of clever machines, labor-saving devices, feats of engineering, and advanced technology. But as the authors of this fascinating and eye-opening book reveal, some of humankind's most important and most amazing inventions actually date back ...
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Overview

"IT'S CHOCKABLOCK WITH CURIOUS LORE....[James and Thorpe] have amassed scores of persuasive testimonials of primeval ingenuity."
--The Boston Globe
We in the twentieth century tend to assume that our era has a monopoly on the inventions of clever machines, labor-saving devices, feats of engineering, and advanced technology. But as the authors of this fascinating and eye-opening book reveal, some of humankind's most important and most amazing inventions actually date back thousands of years.
Historian Peter James and archaeologist Nick Thorpe have pooled their expertise in amassing this compendium of human ingenuity through the ages. Together they conclusively prove that our ancestors, however long ago they lived and whatever part of the globe they occupied, were brilliant problem-solvers. Written with the pure joy of discovery, Ancient Inventions reveals that:
* Medieval Baghdad had an efficient postal service, banks, and a paper mill.
* Rudimentary calendars were being used in France as early as 13,000 B.C.
* Apartment condominiums rose in deserts of the American Southwest a thousand years ago.
* The ancient Greeks used an early form of computer.
* Plastic surgery was being performed in India by the first century B.C.
* The Egyptians knew about effective contraceptives.
* Flamethrowers were used in battles waged in tenth-century China.
Brimming with odd facts and entertaining curiosities, written with zest and humor, comprehensive and fun to read, Ancient Inventions is a wonderful celebration of the endless inventiveness of the human mind.
"This presentation of the discoveries and innovations of the ancients will fascinate."
--Booklist
"Thoroughly researched...It is doubtful that anyone could examine [this book] without coming away enlightened in one of its broadly ranging areas."
--Library Journal
AN ALTERNATE SELECTION OF THE QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB AND THE NATURAL SCIENCE BOOK CLUB

Few people know that brain surgery was performed in the Stone Age; a form of computer was used by the ancient Greeks; the Roman Empire had plumbing. Written with the pure joy of discovery, brimming wiht odd facts and entertaining curiosities, Ancient Inventions is a dazzling celebration of inventiveness. Illustrated with more than 300 line drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
You leave your seventh-floor apartment, curse the congested traffic that delays you, and stop at a fast-food restaurant on your way to have cataract surgery. You live in Rome in A.D. 25. Ancient Inventions entertainingly demonstrates that there is indeed little new under the sun. The book is divided by the authors (Centuries of Darkness, LJ 3/15/93) into convenient, browsable sections such as "Sex Life," "Military Technology," and "Communications," each one presenting fascinating evidence of the extent to which human knowledge can be extinguished. Cute rather than hilarious in its humor, Ancient Inventions is thoroughly researched and profusely illustrated; it is doubtful that anyone could examine it without coming away enlightened in one of its broadly ranging areas. This work will be used as much for its historical information and accounts of ancient daily life as it will be for recreational reading. Historical First Patents is an overview of over 80 granted U.S. patent applications, with emphasis on the familiar: Howe, Whitney, Bell, and others whose names are closely associated with a specific device. Each entry consists of the historical developments leading to the invention, a biographical description of the inventor, and the story of the creation of the invention itself. A patent drawing accompanies most entries, although some contain a reproduction of the first page of the published patent in print so small as to be useless. The writing is rather stilted (Lincoln's entry mentions three times in the first three paragraphs that he was the only president to receive a patent), and some obvious errors have not been caught. Some of the patents included here are for items discussed in Ancient Inventions and known thousands of years earlier, such as artificial limbs, cylinder locks, and anesthesia. Of the two books, Ancient Inventions contains information more difficult to locate elsewhere and will serve the broadest audience. Both books are appropriate for school, academic, and public libraries.-James Moffet, Baldwin P.L., Birmingham, Mich.
Booknews
British archaeologists James and Thorpe lay to rest the notion that we who live in this modern era have a monopoly on the inventions of clever machines, labor-saving devices, and brilliant engineering. With wry humor grounded in scholarly research, the authors present an amazing compendium of feats of human ingenuity from the ancient world through Columbus's time, organized thematically. Contains over 300 line drawings. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345401021
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 704
  • Product dimensions: 7.17 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 1.58 (d)

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