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Lost Worlds: What Have We Lost, & Where Did it Go? Paperback – October 1, 2005


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What If? by Randall Munroe
From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, find hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Granta UK (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862077983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862077980
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,875,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gorgeously written, barking-mad catalog raisonne of, well, all kinds of stuff that we've lost" -- The Tatler

From the Publisher

They vanish. People. Civilizations. Languages. Philosophies. Works of art disappear, species are extinguished, books are lost, cities drown, things once thought immortal suddenly aren't there at all. Whole libraries of knowledge, whole galleries of secrets. Gone. Our culture, our knowledge, and all our lives are shadows cast by what went before. We are defined, not by what we have, but by what we have lost along the way. And so, Lost Worlds: a glossary of the missing, a cabinet of absent curiosities. No mere miscellany, it weaves a web of everything we no longer have. Lost Worlds: the book that falls open at every page.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
There's just nothing there.
UCLA Ex-Prof
Often spiteful, occasionally prurient, more often than not off topic, it is a poor catalogue of gripes and complaints.
John HOWE
Anyone without a sense of humor will hate this book.
Thomas Rieger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Rieger on September 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a great book by a very angry man. The world has turned horrible as we have watched, and Bywater tells us some, only some, of the ways in which this horror has been foisted on us. Many of the essays are very funny ..... and then not so funny. He has seen the absurdity of life and has now told us about it. Anyone who is satisfied with the modern world and does not feel that much has been lost will hate this book. Anyone without a sense of humor will hate this book. Anyone incapable of feeling outrage at what "they" (and we all know who they are!) have done to us will hate this book. Anyone lacking a soul will hate this book. Anyone who thinks that the government/the corportions/the people across the street have our best interests at heart will hate this book. Anyone who thinks he will live forever will hate this book. I love it.

At first and to a shallow mind the essays seem random and unfocused, but gradually the theme emerges: we've been had.
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By Tina Rhea on February 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Bywater's style of humor may not be to everyone's taste, especially in the US, but I found it delightful.

"The love that dared not speak its name is now, thank heaven, walking cheerfully about the place saying hello and introducing itself."

"Telling children not to do things because they're common is now common, so that people who were brought up to worry about whether things are common can no longer transmit that philosophy: a majestic loop of negative feedback."

"Angel-believers simply state that the rules of the Universe are not what we think they are. Homeopaths say no, the rules of the Universe are absolutely spot-on, dead right, tickety-boo and well done, chaps... except in the case of homeopathy, where they are different."

"This book was researched and written without the aid of any Microsoft software at all. Such a pleasure; you can't imagine."

These pieces seem to have been written for a newspaper column, so they weren't originally meant to be read all in one go. Perhaps a few pages here and there would be best, and that way you can spin out the pleasure.
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Format: Paperback
People, civilizations, and even works of art and cities vanish, leaving human culture to be defined as much by their absence as their presence. LOST WORLDS: WHAT HAVE WE LOST, AND WHERE DID IT GO charts these missing curiosities of the past, using extensive quotes from source materials in its catalog of loss. From lost ideas and languages to icons of civilization, LOST WORLDS takes a journey through history to examine the impact of the past. An inherently fascinating, informative, thoughtful, thought-provoking , and highly recommended read!

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jesse S. Walker on March 1, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the review from publisher I had expected any number of things. What I got was essentially a comedy novel along the lines of the Devil's Dictionary. With entries like: Absurdity, Gloves, and Patchouli(which I disagree with I think the author just needs to go find a hippie and he'll find his patchouli). While it's good for what it is I was hoping for something a little more serious.
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