The Medieval Worldby Robert Snedden
We rely on technology to make our lives easier, faster, and better. Our buildings, machinery, vehicles, clothes, metals, food, medicines, and weapons depend upon it. But many of the technologies we currently use have their origins in the distant past.
Snedden uses such a broad definition of "technology" that his overviews lack focus. In China, for instance, along with mentioning the development of central heating, block printing, porcelain manufacture, and the compass, he ranges off into silkworm culture, farming techniques, traditional medicine, and general history. As a result, the books provide only tantalizing wisps of information. Each of the five sets of disconnected topical spreads gives way without any wrap-up to a time line and a few wide-angle information sources. Dropped lines of text in Ancient Rome and a backward schematic of an Archimedes Screw in Ancient Greece are signs of careless production to boot. The illustrations sometimes pair ancient and modern images in order to make connections, but that's not enough to make this more than an also-ran next to Michael Woods and Mary B. Woods's "Ancient Technology" series (Lerner).
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