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A dazzling intellectual history of the West served up with verve and insight by two brilliant young historians.Here is an intellectual entertainment, a sweeping history of the key institutions that have organized knowledge in the West from the classical period onward. With elegance and wit, this exhilarating history alights at the pivotal points of cultural transformation. The motivating question throughout: How does history help us understand the vast changes we are now experiencing in the landscape of ...
A dazzling intellectual history of the West served up with verve and insight by two brilliant young historians.Here is an intellectual entertainment, a sweeping history of the key institutions that have organized knowledge in the West from the classical period onward. With elegance and wit, this exhilarating history alights at the pivotal points of cultural transformation. The motivating question throughout: How does history help us understand the vast changes we are now experiencing in the landscape of knowledge?Beginning in Alexandria and its great center of Hellenistic learning and imperial power, we then see the monastery in the wilderness of a collapsed civilization, the rambunctious universities of the late medieval cities, and the thick social networks of the Enlightenment republic of letters. The development of science and the laboratory as a dominant knowledge institution brings us to the present, seeking patterns in the new digital networks of knowledge.Full of memorable characters, this fresh history succeeds in restoring the strangeness and the significance of the past.
1 The Library 1
2 The Monastery 37
3 The University 77
4 The Republic of Letters 119
5 The Disciplines 161
6 The Laboratory 205
Posted March 29, 2012
Reinventing Knowledge is an interesting book that does cover how we have evolved in learning. Though it states that it covers from Alexandria to the Internet, the actual chapters only covers through the Laboratory period and reading the conclusion you get the understanding of where the Internet comes to play.
I found this as a useful book to understand how knowledge has been transformed and has a great flow in the earlier chapters, but in the last chapter I felt a little rushed and confused with the amount of information and how it kept skipping around.
Overall, it was a good book with very interesting knowledge of how everything came about in the evolution of knowledge and how it has been interpreted over the years.
Posted March 26, 2012
I was required to read this book for an Honors class, and from the start the book was not what I expected. I felt that this book was more suited for a history class. The book is broken down, where each chapter is explaining a certain time period, and a certain organization, as it slowly progresses through time. The book can be very choppy and hard to understand at times, I often had to refer to a dictionary to look up the words that I didn’t know. I frequently found myself falling asleep or getting bored in the beginning pages of each chapter. Each chapter was rather long, starting at around thirty pages, and then increasing in amount each chapter.It also took a ton of time to read it, with all the new words and long chapters. If you enjoy learning about history and how the way communication has changed over the years, than this would be a good book to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 14, 2012
I've never before read a book that covers the history of storing, transporting and learning information. This is a great academic text, with great historical references. It shares with us how knowledge was preserved, which was and is vital to our future.
It begins with the library. We learn about the positives and how libraries suffered. This paved the way for the monastery, which introduced knowledge based exclusively around a theology.
With the introduction of the university we learn about how universities were like big business leading to colleges for "the regular people." The Republic of Letters speaks of a group of people who learned to efficiently transport information through letters. This was the first network, paving the way for further democratization of information. The disciplines and the laboratory both introduced specialties as a possibility to scholars.
I would have to say the introduction and the first chapter were very uninteresting, but after that the book flowed well, and I really enjoyed it and would recommend it for research assignments and history buffs.
Posted March 12, 2012
After reading "Reinventing Knowledge" by McNeely & Wolverton from cover to cover; I was able to completely put all the pieces of this intruiging puzzle together.This book was very interesting although it does read more like a scholarly history book than something smooth like a novel. At times it was very difficult to get through the pages due to some unccomon word use that required I spend a bit of time researching and flipping through the dictionary pages to find the meanings.
If you are looking to open your mind and further your knowledge in the basics behind how knowledge has been preserved, changed,reinvented and made more portibal throughout history then this is a great book to pick up. However, like i stated previously this does read more like an academic book so if you dont have a long attention span this may not be the best choice since many chapters reached upto 30 pages in length.
Overall very interesting and a bit time consuming.
Posted February 6, 2011
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