Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards, and Pyrotechnics: The History of the Explosive That Changed the World

Overview


When Chinese alchemists fashioned the first manmade explosion sometime during the tenth century, no one could have foreseen its full revolutionary potential. Invented to frighten evil spirits rather than fuel guns or bombs—neither of which had been thought of yet—their simple mixture of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal went on to make the modern world possible. As word of its explosive properties spread from Asia to Europe, from pyrotechnics to battleships, it paved the way for Western exploration, hastened the ...
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Overview


When Chinese alchemists fashioned the first manmade explosion sometime during the tenth century, no one could have foreseen its full revolutionary potential. Invented to frighten evil spirits rather than fuel guns or bombs—neither of which had been thought of yet—their simple mixture of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal went on to make the modern world possible. As word of its explosive properties spread from Asia to Europe, from pyrotechnics to battleships, it paved the way for Western exploration, hastened the end of feudalism and the rise of the nation state, and greased the wheels of the Industrial Revolution.With dramatic immediacy, novelist and journalist Jack Kelly conveys both the distant time in which the “devil’s distillate” rose to conquer the world, and brings to rousing life the eclectic cast of characters who played a role in its epic story, including Michelangelo, Edward III, Vasco da Gama, Cortés, Guy Fawkes, Alfred Nobel, and E. I. DuPont. A must-read for history fans and military buffs alike, Gunpowder brings together a rich terrain of cultures and technological innovations with authoritative research and swashbuckling style.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465037186
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/12/2004
  • Series: Art of Mentoring Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author


Jack Kelly is both an accomplished novelist and an experienced author of popular history. He writes regularly for American Heritage, and has also written features about the DuPont family's involvement in the gunpowder industry and the history of fireworks in America. He lives in Milan, New York.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    Bad

    This book has interesting facts but it is very boring to read. The history is laid out very factually and lacks excitement. If you are just looking for something similar to textbook reading get if you are looking for a good read don't/

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