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James May's Magnificent Machines: How Men in Sheds Have Changed Our Lives

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0340950920
ISBN-10: 0340950927
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'James May is the best thing ever to come out of Top Gear' Radio Times 'Smart, sharply written' Guardian 'The most loveable of the Top Gear presenting trio ... there's a sharp and interesting mind under the corduroy. Fascinating.' Nottingham Evening Post

About the Author

James May is a writer, broadcaster, and the cohost of Top Gear. His previous books include May on Motors, Notes from the Hard Shoulder, and Oz and James’s Big Wine Adventure.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340950927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340950920
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"James May's Magnificent Machines: How Men In Sheds Changed Our Lives" is authored by the co-host of the popular BBC television show "Top Gear" and award winning British journalist, James May. May takes the reader on a journey through the 20th Century to explore how "men in sheds" came to pioneer technology in the fields of aviation, cars, television, computers, space travel, architechture, electricity, the horseless carriage, radio, music, motorbikes, fashion, tanks, espionage, and health care. The author also includes "a section for anoraks" and "further reading" which contain facts and further resources for exploring the technological wonders of the 20th Century.
May's book is a great introduction to the study of "men in sheds" and how their inventions definitely changed our lives and shaped the world in which we live.
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James May is a great TV presenter and covers many technological achievements in this book in an interesting way. If you are taking a class on invention, teaching one as I do, or just interested in some of the major achievements in technological history, this book covers most of it. It doesn't go into great detail, but does give a good back story. Mr. May does write as if you can see him gesture and make facial expressions, so sometimes his prose is lacking a dimension of physical expression.

There is a DVD that follows along with the book, and I am sure it is just as good as the book.

The one thing that irks me is the way the publisher arranged the photos. They are arranged in sections and not necessarily with the chapters they relate to. This isn't a big deal, but if were to use it with a class then I know I would have some student complaining. But all students complain about something.

This book is definitily on a 8th grade reading level, which is not to say the writing is low brow. The writing is just accessible by almost anyone.
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james may is perhaps the person with the most depth among the three presenter in top gear. and he shows his depth here in his book. i have to confess that i am not a strong reader and that i get bored easily with books, but i did find myself laughing, and completely hooked in reading this book from cover to cover. every free time i find, i just read this book. if you are the sort of person who is intrigued by the history of a lot of machines that we now take for granted, this is a great book that will deliver you the facts in the most amusing way.
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James May reminds me so much of James Burke it's frightening! The book shows both his unique humor and his ability to explain complex subjects. From a Vespa scooter to the first self performed cardiac catherazation, James May pulls you in and does not let you go. I hope he continues in this pursuit. He is an amazing talent.
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This book is a great introductory, casual commentary to human inventions and ingenuity. My friend is actually using this book as a part of curriculum for his class after I gave it to him as a Christmas gift. James May may be my favorite person I will never meet.
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Ostensibly written about the inventions of "great men in sheds", this book rambles on more than it should, and is less witty than I would have expected from May. Nevertheless, it's a good cursory back story of some of the 20th century's biggest inventions.
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I really enjoyed Jame's book. Short format articles that are great for an extended sit in the loo. :o) This is not just collected old articles like most of the Top Gear presenter books.
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This is a great book! A combination of James's special way of putting things and a wealth of interesting and in some cases, obscure but entertaining facts. Thoroughly recommend it.
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