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Comment: Former library book. Normal library markings or labels on covers, title pages and book edges. Pages are clear with no notes, highlighting or underlining and no folds or creases. Spine shows moderate wear ***Fast Amazon shipping, delivery tracking number, no-hassle return policy - your satisfaction is guaranteed.
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Fifty Minerals that Changed the Course of History (Fifty Things That Changed the Course of History) Hardcover – July 19, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Chaline offers yet another lens through which to view human history. This reference compiles 50 essays focusing on the influence of minerals on the progression of civilization. Topics are well considered, including both the expected and unexpected, covered varying degrees of detail. The entries characterize the minerals by their type, place of origin, and chemical formula. Importance is weighed according to four categories: commercial, cultural, industrial, and scientific. Numerous images, captions, and sidebars augment the author’s discussion of each subject. This serves to enhance the overall interdisciplinary nature of this text. For example, the entry for petroleum considers the early use of the substance equally as important as its current uses. It also recognizes the harmful ecological impact that it has had over the course of history. Information on other, lesser-known minerals, such as natron and kaolin, offers the reader an opportunity to delve further into each mineral’s historical significance in an accessible way. Minerals are organized according to scientific nomenclature, detracting from the ease of use as a quick reference. The order of entries, alphabetized according to their formal name, forces the reader of the full text to jump between disparate eras and cultures. Had Chaline organized these topics chronologically, the full text may have flowed more fluidly. However, simply organizing alphabetically by common name may also have enhanced the ability of the reader to access desired information more quickly. A short bibliography and listing of helpful websites is offered at the end of the monograph. As this is intended to be a brief guide, and not a specialist-level scientific reference, it may not be useful in higher education or for professional use. However, as an interesting, affordable, and readable guide, this work is recommended for most school and public libraries. --Becca Smith

Review

Interesting, affordable and readable.... Offers the reader an opportunity to delve further into each mineral's historical significance in an accessible way. (Booklist 2012-10-15)

The brief sections are consistently interesting, and plenty of supplemental illustrations and photos make this a handsome volume...best-suited to curious kids and casual mineralogists. (Publishers Weekly 2012-07-01)

This is a beautiful book, nicely bound and richly illustrated... written in an easy to read, casual style. It may be of interest to middle or high school students, or their teachers who are looking for some historical background on these minerals. It is also suitable for the layperson. (Blaise J. Arena, Arena Consulting, Des Plaines, IL Science Books and Film 2013-05-01)

Gives a fascinating perspective on the scope of human development. (Foreword Reviews 2012-09-20)

This series...has hit the nail on the head again. (Globe and Mail, Christmas 2012 Gift Book List 2012-12-08)

Believe me, once you start mining this book, you'll have no trouble digging out nuggets of fascinating information! (Jan Johnston The Columbian (Vancouver, WA) 2012-12-09)
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Product Details

  • Series: Fifty Things That Changed the Course of History
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books; First Edition edition (July 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554079845
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554079841
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas E. Davis TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've purchased all five books in this series (Fifty Minerals, Animals, Plants, Machines, and Railroads that Changed the Course of History) and they've proven consistently delightful. Each one carefully selects many of the crucial things that have had a profound impact on human life and societies on a large scale, connecting them both directly and tangentially to numerous other items and events. One will not agree with the authors' every choice, but they are always thought-provoking.

In entries that range from two to eight pages, "Fifty Minerals" describes the natural materials present in our planet's crust (and occasionally, as in the case of bronze and steel, those humans have produced) that have had the greatest effect on mankind. We use these minerals for our buildings, currencies, containers, foods, fuels, dyes, and all manner of manufactured goods. We need them in the arts, sciences, medicine, trade, transportation, communication, warfare, and much more. The text concisely and entertainingly places them into context, provides a rationale for their significance, and profiles the individuals whose discoveries and creativity were pivotal. Sidebars offer details about their special uses and cultural connections. The book concludes with a useful list of related readings and websites.

Each of these volumes is cleverly designed, copiously illustrated, and beautifully bound a la the renowned Dorling-Kindersley books, and each makes a fine, durable resource for family and school libraries. They provide a jumping-off point for further research and an invitation into the perennial game of "what would you have included on or excluded from this list." All of them are great fun to pick up and browse at random or read from cover to cover.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full of interesting and historical information about 50 minerals that all played a significant part in the development of civilization. In addition to all the true minerals, the book also delves into the sources, structures and uses of other, what could perhaps be called, "mineral-related" matter. Attractively bound, presented and illustrated. A reference book for all ages except the very young.
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By KMRA on January 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting and informative. The effect of the discovery of each mineral and the history of that time is well worth reading. Short explanation of each makes it easy to read in smalll increments.
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The Book is a good resource book. The only major problem is that many of the 50 minerals in the book are not true minerals. Oil, bronze, steel, etc. are not minerals. Still the book forms a good basis of information and is easy to read. It makes for a nice compliment to any Middle School Teacher's classroom book shelf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fun read if you like to understand how geology (especially rocks and minerals) impact the world and your life. Its also a physically attractive book which is becoming a rarity these days.
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A great book for a family library. An easy read and would be a great source book for anyone interested in the earth sciences and geology.
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