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Glass: A World History

3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  23 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Picture, if you can, a world without glass. There would be no microscopes or telescopes, no sciences of microbiology or astronomy. People with poor vision would grope in the shadows, and planes, cars, and even electricity probably wouldn't exist. Artists would draw without the benefit of three-dimensional perspective, and ships would still be steered by what stars navigato ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by University Of Chicago Press
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Feb 26, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it
What a fantastic book! I read it for my Glass and Civilization course. It's one of those books that focuses on one aspect of life and culture (glass) and gives you a completely new take on history. Written clearly and cogently, it's a very good piece of work. The chapter on "spectacles" (glasses) is terrifically interesting--as is much of the rest of the book.
Jul 10, 2010 Steffi rated it liked it
Shelves: motifs_materials
Angefangen zu lesen habe ich das Buch, weil ich bei einer Besichtigung der Kirche in Klosterneuburg zum ersten Mal hörte, dass man mittelalterliches Glas daran erkenne, dass es nur weißes Licht durchlasse. Diesen Effekt könne man nicht nachahmen und die später ersetzten Fenster erkenne man daran, dass wenn von außen Licht auf sie fällt, die entstehenden Lichtflecken farbig sind.
Dazu habe ich leider nichts in dem Buch gefunden. Dennoch machen die Autoren klar, wie wichtig Glas in der Entwicklung
Mar 24, 2011 Sesana rated it liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
It's a pretty decent history of glass, but it feels a bit compressed in places. This is probably mostly so the authors can air out their pet theory that glass is a key factor in the development of western science (which I can agree with) and that the lack of advanced glass making in Asia is a key factor in the lack thereof. The book could get pretty repetitive at times, repeating the same or very similar ideas quite a few times throughout the book, and even in the same chapter. Much more for com ...more
May 06, 2013 Heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I found this book searching for a history of plate glass making and found their theories fascinating! I'd never given much thought to where western civilization would be without glass so it was an eye-opening experience. The writing was clear and aimed at a general audience instead of higher academia, which made it quite readable. It did seem a bit repetitive at times-- and I wish there had been more information about the development of plate glass, since that was what I was primarily interested ...more
Marcus Shibaba
Jul 22, 2008 Marcus Shibaba rated it did not like it
Wow! A book that I will never be able to bring up in conversation with any of my friends. But, it has brought a lot of little things to my attention.
We would be nowhere without glass.
What a strange invention.
And I dork out on it with myself because I get to work with the shit all the time.
Shonna Froebel
Jun 25, 2013 Shonna Froebel rated it liked it
Shelves: history, science
A little bit of everything: antropology, science, culture, art
Jan 01, 2017 Cody rated it it was ok
Believe it or not, but this book is very dry.

I thought this was going to be about the evolution of material glass production, but it was more of a cultural survey.
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Alan Macfarlane was born in Shillong, India, in 1941 and educated at the Dragon School, Sedbergh School, Oxford and London Universities. He is the author of over twenty books, including The Origins of English Individualism (1978) and Letters to Lily: On How the World Works (2005). He has worked in England, Nepal, Japan and China as both an historian and anthropologist. He was elected to the Britis ...more
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