Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages Paperback – November 17, 1977


See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$37.45 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$15.00

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (November 17, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140045147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140045147
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Middle Ages, writes French scholar Jean Gimpel, saw an extraordinary flourishing of technological development throughout Europe. With the era came waterwheels and clock towers, nearly uniform machine parts and improvements in public hygiene, vaulting cathedrals and towering city walls, and a notion of spiritual and earthly progress that promised better things to come. In analyzing the growth of precision in measurement and of the experimental sciences, and in considering the careers of medieval geniuses such as the architect-inventor Villard de Honnecourt, Gimpel clearly conveys the intellectual excitement of the time. Sadly, it was undone by religious intolerance, brutal warfare, and the arrival of the plague as quickly as it rose.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
The criticisms made by some of the other reviewers on Amazon.com concerning this book's often political undertone are quite valid, however the subject has seen scant analysis. Relevations concerning pollution controls in force six hundred years ago are particularly interesting as being demonstrative of the relative sophistication of medieval Europeans. Gimpel's book is very approachable in its prose and it conveniently covers a number of areas, but it doesn't cover technology transfer (especially from Byzantium or the East) in adequate detail. The copy of this book I have is fairly old (1976) and subsequent research has clarified some of the points made in Gimpel's work. Recent issues of Scientific American and other "popular" sources, for example, contain information on diverse areas such as ship building which would have been beneficial to be included in Gimpel's work. In this respect Gimpel's book can not be considered authoratative. It is pleasant though to read a book on this subject, which for some readers will demonstrate the ingenuity of the medieval engineer.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
An excellent work marred by a little too much enthusiasm, this book will convey to the student of history the notion that the middle ages were not the black hole of lack of technology that most historians portray them to be. The author compares the changes in technology, and the scope of their results, to the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, and he may be pushing the analogy a bit. However, it is certainly true that technology did advance in ways in the Middle Ages. As for biases and tone, the author veers deceptively about, now seeming anti-industrialist, now communist, now capitalist, now labor historian. The book is marred by a final chapter in which the author tries to draw a parallel between the Middle Ages and the modern day that is both not well described and does not seem to be accurate given the circumstances of the world 20 years after the writing. But for the descriptions of technology alone, and of corporate-like structures in the middle ages, this is a good read.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Richins on August 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
What I liked about the book was how it provided a glimpse into the every day life in the Middle ages by describing technological advances. It just opened up that facet of Medieval History that is hardly ever touched on.
Medieval times are usually protrayed as a step backwards from the classical era in terms of technology and sophitication. This book sort of dispells our generic view of the Middle Ages as an age of Pagentry and fairy tales, and shows us how commerce was run during that era. Maybe I'm just a geek, but I found it very interesting.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alan Fox on January 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ask history professors about medieval Europe and they will likely highlight its philosphical achievements and political and theogical conflict. Rarely will they talk about the technological achievements and their effects on society.

This books fill in that gap. For anyone interested in technological history you will find this book very interesting. From the machinery of mills to advancements of building technology to the necessity for unions, this books shows how we are not all that unlike medieval Europe. It even speaks of events that we do not think about; i.e. medieval Europe was much warmer and drier then it is today. Medieval Europe was not technologically stagnant, but made many advancements that lead the way for modern advanced society. Great book!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jasper L. Mcchesney on July 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I found The Medieval Machine a refreshing examination of the material cicumstances of medieval life, including power sources, agriculture and food, mining, and the environment. I also appreciated Gimpel's fairly 'hard' approach, including many real numbers (e.g. considing the percentage of vegetables consumed and what health problems might arise from that). The sections on general mechanization and science are less good than the others, but not terrible. The book does not try to be sweeping but to focus on a few select topics, and it does this well.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Beatnik on October 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
As has been stated, Gimpel did indeed push an anti-industrial, environmentalist agenda with this book. What hasn't been stated is that it is quite easy (or was for me at least) to separate the soapboxing from the scholastic work. There is in my opinion too much to learn from this book to pass on it based on the author's inability to keep it strictly scholarly.

It has also been suggested that this book engages in false advertising: that it doesn't provide any facts about individual machines. I too was hoping to learn more about the workings of machines used at the time. But given that machines of the time weren't mass produced (each was made separately, by hand, and likely with great variation), and given that this book thoroughly smashes public school misconceptions about the Medieval period, and thus also the misconceptions about every period thereafter, I am therefore not as upset about not being rewarded with schematics. There are few workings of the machines. There are many effects of their use.

I found it an easy read, I got much new knowledge out of it, it smashed several preconceptions I had about the period, and it was fairly short. I only wish more history texts did likewise.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?