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This is a fascinating account of the historical development of virtuosity, expertise, a faith in technology, and even technocracy. Liberally spiced with the author's wit and erudition, readers will find interesting discussions of the growth of self-promotion, public relations, the creation of a public sphere, and the rise of a self-centered world view. It will be of interest to anyone interested in chess masters, great chefs, automaton makers, great pianists, famous detectives, and to those curious about what these seemingly quite different "celebrities" had in common during the Age of Revolutions. Highly recommended.
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