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The Science of Structural Engineering
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Top Customer Reviews
Each evolution of the science almost always includes direct quotes and reproductions from the original works, but then is punched up by including a diagram by the author to more clearly demonstrate the issues; there were several times where I was confused reading a passage, but turned the page to see a figure or example that made it instantly clear. The last example, in particular, is 2 brief pages that summarize the entire book (indeed, the entire field) by describing a milkmaid sitting on a stool that is almost scary in it's ability to be both lucid and precise at the same time; ironically, I recommend you start the book with it.
The only downside of this book is that like all specialized technical books, it's too short and too expensive. It weighs in at less than 100 6x9 pages (lesser in all dimensions than your average magazine), and considering how good it is, I would love to keep reading it. But even if you have no prior knowledge and no interest in structural engineering, this book is simply a pleasure to read, and is well worth the money. If only all technical books could be this good.
A well written book, pithy and to the point, well informed historically to show the gradual and natural development of ideas in structural integrity and engineering. Illustrations give flesh to the ideas without being gaudy distraction.
Credit and time is given to early developments from before the Romans to the cathedrals of pre-renaissance Europe, audacious testimony to the possibilities allowed by some combination of rules from previous experience/history and ideas of symmetry and beauty. Then on to early intimations of a scientific approach, warts and all, as Galileo addresses cantilever loads and moments. We follow his successors as they develop elastic theory and as those ideas buckle to plastics theory in the 1940s.
No supportive mathematics or tensile strength tables here. Works as an intelligent introduction to the field for the lay-reader.