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The Ascent Of Man Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B005BON6OW
- Publisher : BBC Digital; Illustrated edition (July 31, 2011)
- Publication date : July 31, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 1902 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 354 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #282,358 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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That was what it is: a jolly good introduction to anybody, to me, to you, and to Jacob Bronski, even to Albert Einstein. Path of development of man from original living cell millions of years ago to the bearer of brain more ingenious than the latest brand of computer available. All in thirteen steps on the Earth. A battle for survival of the fittest. An unbroken chain of getting food and shelter to enable physical and psychic steps forward to the final unknown destiny of man.
Somehow I expected more mathematical proof than this enormous amount of intuition in finding factual evidence all over in the world and quite close to anybody.
Up to the last moment I had in mind four stars, but how can I deny in the end five? So much satisfaction did it give, so five stars to Jacob Bronowski.
This however is a review of a text only version. This book reprodes Prof. Bronowski's lectures with very few of the visuals. In these lectures, rather 13 chapters the reader is taken from the beginning of man as a social, culturally artistic and technologically inventive being up into at least the 1970s, when this book was first published, and what was then emerging as the DNA driven understanding of human biology.
I am deeply impressed with the depth and breath of the authors intellect plus his immense skill with English. He was Polish born and did not come to English until he was much older. His original background shifted from a specialty in the mathematics of physics into a later career in biology while gaining recognition as a poet, historian, philosopher and (this is new to me) a "theater author". All of these skills were powerfully displayed in the television series and this is the source of my reservation over a fifth star for the book. My memories of this program from almost 30 years ago are tied to what were then some very high-tech graphics. The absence of the visuals affected my ability to appreciate the text. The power of Bronowski's language is here; unfortunately the text has not been scrubbed of all references to the images not carried over into the text.
Others have mentioned that science is moved forward, indeed leaped forward since this text was put in print. It is remarkable how much of what is here remains valid in itself or at least as a document of where our understanding was before it got to where it is. The very name of the book suggests that human progress his ongoing. A major theme of this book is that a failure to press ahead represents an ending for that culture but not an ending for human progress.
Accepting that some of the science is dated, my recommendation is based on the powerful use of language and the opportunity to spend time with a deeply thoughtful and passionate thinker
Top reviews from other countries
Turn on any TV these days and there will be channels with one of more history or arts programmes. Some 49 years ago a second BBC TV channel was born (BBC2) – in colour , 625 not 405 lines – and the first of a series of blockbuster arts and science programmes were born as part of this channels remit.
Following the 1969 (Lord) Kenneth Clark presentation “ Civilisation” – a personal view – covering Art , Architecture , Industrial developments and intellectual ideas of the Western world , the decision was taken for a science series on the evolution of man to be created / narrated by Dr Jacob Bronowski ( Mathematician and physicist) , entitled the Ascent of Man in 13 x 1h programmes. This was finally screened on BBC2 in 1973 A book of the series was also written based on the scripts of the series.
The hardback book contains both script and illustrations and can be obtained as good quality second hand ,for very reasonable prices.
.A book allows stopping , pausing , thinking , reversing and rereading the text but for those who want the full visual experience ( film/TV presentation being intrinsically different to books with the sight , sounds , narration and a flowing story line to hold the attention) there is a DVD transfer copy .The quality is reasonable given the date but may not be to the taste of everyone brought up on digital sharpness and colour Quality.
I can still recommend both as an example of the thoughts and presentation of the times
Rate 5 star as a classic example of its time.
The book is an almost verbatim transcription of Bronowski's series which was notable for his clear, readily accessible explanations of seminal moments in the history of scientific progress right from the earliest exploits of primeval man, through to theoretical physics and the commencement of the exploration of space. Even more impressive was the fact that most of Bronowski's eloquent disquisitions were entirely unscripted.
Though his own discipline was that of mathematics, Bronowski displays an enviable ability to convey complicated subjects in a manner understood by the layman. He is not reluctant to take on some of the more complex and daunting subjects, but he manages to render even Einstein's theories of relativity into a sufficiently digestible form.
He shows great sensitivity throughout building each chapter through a series of simple, logical steps to give a concise history of the development of a different aspect of modern science. The book was published more than forty years ago, so the frontiers of research in each discipline have been pushed to lengths that Bronowski could not have foreseen. His book, however, remains surprisingly current because he focuses on scientific methodology and trends in innovative thought, all portrayed with a compelling directness and simplicity.
I was given the book when it was first published and was delighted to see that it was available on Kindle. I can now take it with me at all times. The experience of watching the televised series and reading this book is uplifting and refreshing. Although the book was published to accompany the TV programmes it stands independently as a purposeful read in itself. it is the book for my Desert Island choice.