- Publisher: Vintage (March 5, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099575833
- ISBN-13: 978-0099575832
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 178 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,579,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Knowledge: How To Rebuild Our World After An Apocalypse Paperback – March 5, 2015
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Dartnell, a UK Space Agency research fellow and award-winning science writer, specializes in the field of astrobiology, including how microorganisms could survive on Mars. It’s no wonder, then, that this renowned young scientist is fascinated by survival tactics, the underlying theme of this ambitious inquiry into how people might be able to rebuild the world as we know it if an apocalypse came to pass. As much as any writer could cover the history of technology in 300 pages, Dartnell presents a good case. His account quickly progresses from raising crops to making soap, shearing and spinning wool, mining coal, generating electricity, and building radios. Of course, since this is all speculation, it’s hard to predict what people would be able to scavenge and what will be left intact or who might be on earth besides yourself. Dartnell doesn’t address questions of governing this survivors’ society or how people would collaborate on rebuilding or how hopeless some will feel without Google and smartphones. Still, Dartnell’s vision is a great start in understanding what it took to build our world. --Laurie Borman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"A wake-up call, encouraging us to leave our comfort zone and learn the basics of caring for ourselves in a disaster and it's aftermath." ---Mixed Media Reviews --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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A series of 'this is how to build a fire', 'this is how to identify iron-bearing rocks', 'this is how to smelt iron', 'this is how to build a steam engine, etc.
The book instead is a series of chapters describing problems that one facing the rebuilding of civilization would face with no solutions. For example it describes how post-1800s farming requires industrial nitrogen fixing and how not having that is an issue, without providing a solution.
This book is a good starting point for research, but is not what I was hoping for.
The book really showed me how much I didn't know about the tech I use and love daily and opened my eyes to how interconnected and dependent we are as a species.
It makes you think on the fragility of our world as we know it, coming from the last couple of centuries of high energy availability at low price, and how we depend on this for our life.
We are proposed a scenario where this is not anymore available, with clues on how to recover, and pointers to where to find information to gather. Not for eager preppers, but for general public to understand the situation as it is.
Does not cover in my opinion the danger from the removal of rational thinking, and how to grant the same level of freedom of thought we have today: remember Clarke's three laws <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke%27s_three_laws> and what religion has done in the past to undermine development.
Project a couple of generation in this post apocalypse and you will see the danger for recovering "scientists" to be burned on pyres (again !).
2015/10/03 Addendum: Dr. Dartnell also sponsors a forum for readers of his book: discuss.the-knowledge.org
In addition to providing big picture problems Dartnell does an excellent job of providing the foundational concepts of the technologies and science that are directly relevant to continued human survival. In doing so he also reveals how fragile our technological eco-system is and how removed we've become from actually understanding the how and why of technology and science.
The book is accessible to middle school-aged students through college and there is an extensive reference section.
I can imagine building an interdisciplinary curriculum and project assignments around a book like this, and maybe I'll get around to that as soon as I get back from vacation.
It is very well thought out, and I like both the concept and the book.
We need to develop a technology for printing books like this onto thin
sheets of stainless steel, so that they do not rot away.