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Robertson's Book of Firsts: Who Did What for the First Time

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  19 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Patrick Robertson's compendium of inventions, breakthroughs, and other "first" events is a stunning achievement of over fifty years of research, collecting, and writing. Robertson writes with charm and fluency on a massive range of topics-the first computer, the first department store, the first black head of state (it's not who you think), and a seemingly limitless array ...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Bloomsbury USA
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Alison C
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The title of Patrick Robertson's book, Robertson's Book of Firsts: Who Did What for the First Time, pretty much sums up the content: this is an alphabetically arranged compendium of firsts in human history. Samples include the first circus (was in London in 1769), the first market research (done in the US in 1911), and the first service station (established in Bordeaux, France, in 1895). Fun for browsing, yes, but I had a few quibbles with
Disclosure: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

This is a great reference book to peruse for fun and very handy if you had a curious and questioning kid(s) around. The subject headings are alphabetical. There is a subdivision for the first time the event or thing was in the U.S., and further subdivisions for types. For example, First Soda Pop has an entry then for the first soda produced in the U.S., then a bold subheading for first soda vending machine, first soda sold in cans, first diet s
Have you ever wondered what the first blues recording to sell a million was ? It was Bessie Smith's 1923 recording of 'Down Hearted Blues' ? Rather ironic if you know her story. Or how about the first children's novel? It was a book called The Travellers and, according to Author Patrick Robertson, it was written 175 years before Harry Potter and wouldn't be allowed in libraries today.

Robertson's Book of Firsts is jam-packed with information on firsts like this and facts about them. It not only l
This was one of the most interesting books I've read in ages. The only downside? I was completely annoying my family by constantly asking, "Did you know the dishwasher was invented by a woman? Did you know....Did you know...." This book was almost like an encyclopedia of inventions. Each entry was as fascinating as the last. Robertson has definitely done a great job at making seemingly mundane objects and topics rife with quirky details and memorable anecdotes. Another bonus was that I felt I ha ...more
This delicious book is a must for trivia buffs. Robertson has collected, in encyclopedia form, the first time for everything. The first Aerobics? The first Aerosol? The first Gold Strike? The first Golf Course? The first poetry by a woman living in America? The first Instant Replay? All the way through to the final entry, the first Zoo. Inquiring minds want to know these things, and Patrick Robertson has been supplying the need for almost 60 years, beginning at the age of 14. I've seen entries t ...more
Feb 21, 2012 Vincy added it
I love reference books. I have a strange habit of reading them cover-to-cover as if they were novels. I haven't gotten out of the As on this one yet, but I'm working toward it. I've learned so many fascinating things already. Sex in advertising has apparently been around since the beginning, since the first picture ad shows a lady at her bath. There's so much knowledge and background for each entry, it's fascinating. That said, the prose is rather dry and textbook-like, which seems sadly inevita ...more
Nov 17, 2011 Trish rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: won
Did you know that the fist paved street was in the fishing village of Pemaquid, Main in 1625? The first vending machines were tobacco boxes that were in English taverns in 1615? Coffee has been around since 1000? The first cheerleaders were a group of male studens at the University of Minnesota in 1988? This book is just fascinating and chock full of information. My kids love it and I love looking through it. Thank you so much for letting me read it.
This is a fascinating compilation of trivia for reference or just for browsing. The index helps idenitfying information easily and quickly, although many people may use this book for casual reading. The entries include both the world and the US "first times" when applicable. The author took the time to give some additional information and not just give a name or place. The amount of information for each entry shows the author's concern for good research.
I won this book from Goodreads, and boy am I glad I did! It is an amazing book!! Having this book is easier than going to the internet and so much more information! Robertson pulls all the major points together and simplifies it for a quick and easy read! The lay out is almost like a dictionary with an alphabetical listing and references to other "articles" in the book! Hopefully more editions will be on the way soon!!!
I received this book as part of the early reviewers program. I have not finished the book yet, but feel I have read enough to review it. It is a reference book of interesting 'firsts'. They are arranged alphabetically and are short, so is a fun read to pick up over and over to check on or learn some new, interesting information.
As someone who likes to pick up a reference book and dip into pages to learn new details this is an excellent book to add to your pile of books stacked next to your favorite chair. It is very easy to read the well researched facts, and if you are searching for particular information there is also a complimentary index to help.
Fun read with an amazing amount of information that is not just who did it first but what were some of the associated outcomes and/or historical circumstances. However, as with anything so thorough, there was much that I schemed over (e.g. military equipment). A fun trivia resource book.
+ Dragonfly+
Won this book from first reads. Thank you! A great idea for a book! All in alphabetic order beautiful hardcover book about the first of everything you can imagine inside.
Kasia Hubbard
Nov 14, 2011 Kasia Hubbard marked it as to-read
I won this on Goodreads. I received my copy on November 14.
Dec 11, 2011 Rebecca marked it as to-read
This sounds full of fun, "did-you-know?" info.
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