We've all been taught that history is the story of great events and important peoplebut is it, really? In this illuminating collection of essays, Michael Olmert explores how the most ordinary artifacts of everyday life can reveal a huge amount information about how history actually works. For example:
- Toothbrusheshow they eased civilization into the Industrial Revolution
- Playing Cardshow the technology of printing cards led to Gutenberg's Bible
- Keyswhy these little metal objects have been a symbol of power and authority throughout the ages.
- Petswhy black cats were considered dangerous omens, while white ones were thought to be stupid.
How have these little things affected us, and what role does their history play in ours? Olmert forces us to take another look at the odds and ends of life we so often take for granted. Whimsical, witty, and highly informative, Milton's Teeth and Ovid's Umbrella holds the key through the back door and into the kitchen of history where people really lived.
Michael Olmert is the author of The Smithsonian Book of Books and The Official Guide to Williamsburg. His work has been featured in Smithsonian magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Colonial Williamsburg, and Sports Illustrated. He also wrote the feature film The Leopard Son and has won two Emmy awards for his writing in documentaries featured on PBS, Discovery, and National Geographic. He teaches Shakespeare at the University of Maryland.
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