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4.6 out of 5 stars
Oak: The Frame of Civilization
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that I would have liked to have written myself! It is a wonderful tale about the place of oaks throughout civilization. I found the linking of so many European family names to oaks and other trees very fascinating. The descriptions of the wooden structures, coppicing, early inks, acorns as food, oaks as foundation for many early technologies, and many other details brought a richness to the history of our ancestors and the beginnings of civilization. I live in an oak-hickory region of the eastern U.S., and this book has given me a greater appreciation of our national treasure.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
i found this book well written, easy to read and full of interesting aspects. i must admit that the section on using oak to build with that got into the details of cuts and joints was a bit hard to follow but all in all i now understand and appreciate the value and importance of the oak to civilization. so i encourage and recommend this very enjoyable book.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonder-full exploration of the lives of Oak and Us. It talks about the growth and evolvement of human beings in terms of their ability to create using oak as their medium. It is a fascinating treck through the history of our time on earth. Kudos to Bill Logan. Read it; give it to a friend. He has done it again!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Just a quick vote - I don't have much to add to the other reviews except it's good for a short attention span (not much main argument, just lots of 3-10 page interesting short topics related to Oak, such as shipbuilding, forest management, Garden of Eden, Chumash culture, history of various technologies. A person who does not normally enjoy non-fiction might want to skip any part they find boring. I got a lot out of this book, and after getting it from the library twice I may buy myself a copy - it deserves bookshelf (or kindle) space at my house, because it's got an index and could be referred to in conversation. I imagine it's not for everyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I read this in the form of a library book and liked it so much I bought the paper back. One of the surprising things I found out was that acorns can be treated and ground into a very nutritious flour. Native Americans made acorn flour and some Korean grocery stores still stock it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
William Logan, in "Oak: The Frame of Civliztion," creates a vivid and compelling portrait of of the ubiquitous oak tree, including its botanical history, as well as its cultural one. Well paced, engaging, and well illustrated, I unequivocally recommend this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is most like the "New Yorker" at it's best. Which was when a writer looks at some prosaic part of life and opens his eye wide; then writes about it clearly, with the full power and the real art of a bright and deep understanding of the utter complex beauty of the seemingly simple. Mr Logan, please do more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the best book about wood that I have read in years. The author is to be commended for doing as much work as he did and for making sure the book was well printed.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how humans and oaks have interacted throughout history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the hands of another author, this story would be very wooden, so to speak, but Logan has a poetic, pedagogish style of writing, and a breadth of knowledge, that is well-suited to the subject. In learning about the tree, we learn a lot about many other important, seemingly unrelated things having to do with the history and nature of human beings. I was pleasantly reminded of our potential for intelligence, skill, creativity, and the building of good judgment and character. And, there is one short section that is in itself an exciting adventure story about an engagement between the USS Constitution (called "Old Ironsides" but made of oak) and the HMS Guerriere. Afterwards, I looked for a historical novel treatment of the same story, but to my surprise and dismay I couldn't find it!

Logan doesn't come out and say that man couldn't have thrived without the oak, but in making such a compelling argument for its utility, I wonder how things would be without it. Read this book to get a nutshell history of the world!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
An interesting book. I was impressed on what I learned and it wasn't just about oak trees or the genus. The discussions on viking ships, the battle with the US Constitution, and the general history of man and the interwoven uses of oak was very informative. There was a point I was let down by the book as if the author used his own liberties to write stories that felt unreferenced. But then on the other hand the ability to make one aware of many aspects of mans history woven around oak timbers was fascinating. So once I was at a 3 and later a 5 rating and thus the 4. The discussion of phloem and cambium was a very different approach than any I ever heard in all my botanical classes.
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