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This is an ambitious study of human history through its scientific and technological development. It begins with prehistoric times and ends with the many accomplishments of the late twentieth century. No area of the world is neglected, with much attention paid to the great civilizations of Asia in particular. There are also many mini-biographies of such worthies as Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, Edison, etc. which place them in the context of their time and the overall theme of technological development. The book is scholarly but not dry. Attempts have been made to appeal to the laymen through notes on "Cool Websites" and the like, and this is successful. Its a good overview of world history from a less than usual angle.
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on May 1, 2000
The World History Association has awarded its annual book prize to this work, because it clearly addressed science and technology from a global perspective. Not only Western science is covered, but also in the ancient and medieval periods, northeast Africa, southwest Asia, other parts of Asia and the precolumbian Americas. It thus provides a point of departure for comparative analysis of the markers that many archaeologists and historians use to measure change over time in the human past.
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on January 9, 2004
I agree with the previous reviewers on their accessment of the book--with the exception of the very last part of it. In fact, the chapter on modern physics has so many mistakes that it is almost rendered unusable, which is odd because the quality of the rest of the book is so high.
I wouldn't expect that two authors would be able to pull off what they have tried to do here (with such a breadth of material), but I believe that if they invite a guest author (or editor) to help with the chapter on the history of modern physics they will be fully successful in a subsequent edition.
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on May 2, 2000
The World History Association is pleased to award this book its 1999 prize, because it is a quality work of history from a global perspective. Not only the West is covered, but also, especially in the ancient and medieval periods, science in northeast Africa, southwest Asia, other parts of Asia, and the precolombian Americas. It provides a point of departure, then, for comparative analysis of a measure of change used by many historians and archeologists.
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on January 4, 2000
McClellan and Dorn have written a basic but very complete book on the, until recently, parallel histories of technology and science. Very clear concepts, very well documented and extremely interesting. It should be mandatory reading for engineering and science undergraduates, journalists and, why not, politicians. I read it in 3 days, and enjoyed it as much as a good novel.
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on December 7, 2010
This is quite possibly the most important book I have ever read. I came to this book from a history background, not a scientific one, and I can say that I learned a great deal about history that my professors in college neglected to mention. Everything from the fact that China under the Song Dynasty was far more advanced than Europe or the Islamic World in the Middle Ages, to the fact that most of the branches of science at today's universities weren't in existence in the Scientific Revolution, to the fact that Einstein's theories replaced Newton's were all eye-opening discoveries to me. The author does a good job of explaining why psychology and the social sciences are so less reputable compared to the fast-advancing branches of physics, chemistry, biology, and so on.

I wish this book had a more extensive anthology to read after finishing this introductory book, but since it does not, I will take up the author's recommendation and continue on to the Cambridge History of Science (although at $200 a volume, I don't know how successful I'll be at this!)

I would definitely recommend this book for an overview of science and technology in world history. I honestly read this book more for the technology aspect, which seemed neglected at certain points of the book but overall it gives a nice, brief summary of technology in history. Most of the technology discussions in the book started in the Industrial Revolution, since most technology we use today was invented since the 1740s, and particularly in the last century. Very well done!
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on October 7, 2014
Interesting read about how society influenced the development of science as we know it. I don't usually like history, puts me right to sleep. But this was neat. Gave it to my friend and it's fun to talk over.
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on October 14, 2013
There are few books as concise and informative as this one for introducing science and technology in world history. I love the organization and the amount of details presented: not too much, not too little.

That said, my students frequently complain that there are too few pictures and illustrations. I am inclined to agree, but I do understand wanting to keep it short. I do wish some maps--or at least one--would be included to introduce the reader to some of these regions.

But...awesome book!
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on March 5, 2014
Turns out this book is also great for the technically-inclined layman reader, as well. I bought this book for my partner who hugely enjoyed Cockpit Confidential, Boeing 747 Owner's Manual. He loves this book. He frequently tells me interesting bits he's discovered. And the best part is that it's dense and will take him a while to get through. So I'd say it's both accessible and full of interesting facts and ideas that you'll want to share and discuss.
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on February 12, 2014
This book supplies detail about the rise of technology in world history ... It shows key technology developments from over 2,000 years of world history. Understanding the rise of technology shows how the people from the past are so very much like ourselves. It is also a window into how the less technically advanced peoples of our own age can be helped.
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