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Ancient Inventions

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  185 ratings  ·  17 reviews
"IT'S CHOCKABLOCK WITH CURIOUS LORE....[James and Thorpe] have amassed scores of persuasive testimonials of primeval ingenuity."
--The Boston Globe
We in the twentieth century tend to assume that our era has a monopoly on the inventions of clever machines, labor-saving devices, feats of engineering, and advanced technology. But as the authors of this fascinating and eye-open
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Paperback, 704 pages
Published October 31st 1995 by Ballantine Books (first published October 18th 1994)
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Sesana
Fun for history buffs, but you definitely have to be a history buff to read through all 600+ pages. I am, and I did. I picked it up because I had greatly enjoyed reading the equally huge Ancient Mysteries (both books are approximately the size and shape of an urban phone book), but this book is far more straightforward. There are few actual mysteries here, just what the archaeological record says and suggests came before. Luckily, the authors' writing styles are as interesting as the subject mat ...more
Eddie Jong
Invaluable Information

I bought this book as a reference for writing Velvak's Victory. As my novels take place in a world that has never had an industrial revolution, I wanted some ideas of what technology would be available to the people of Bradapol.

This book is amazing. Not only is the content fascinating, but it is arranged in such a way that any subject can be easily found. When a specific subject is covered, e.g. a specific plant used for cooking, there are also references to other section o
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Dave
Recently, I was looking for something I can read in small spurts without having to break up any continuity or remember any storyline so I'm going back and reading this one cover to cover. I had previously read a large portion of this book solely for research purposes for writing classes for my job. This book was a good source of information concerning historical backgrounds for these things because it is indeed chock full of great information. Now, upon reading it for leisure, I'm feeling like a ...more
T.
This non-fiction book is ideal for those people who wish to know >who else< invented stuff long before the European Renaissance. Turns out many things, including the lightning rod and armored ships, were invented way before the Industrial Revolution. As an archaeologist, I like the excellent referencing and documenting the authors do for each of their topic areas. Very good bibliography. Highly recommended.
Dan Gladwell
Another well written book by these two authors. I didn't enjoy it as much as Ancient Mysteries, but that's mostly because Mysteries had the multiple view points and explanations included. This is more of a text book read (which is great by me), but it's still a very fun book to read!
Deborah
This book includes a very detailed look at how the ancients used to live. It was very, very interesting, and is written in an easy-to-read fashion.

I intend to keep this book in my personal library for future reference during the writing of my novels.
Kozmo Kliegl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alberto
A beautiful work on the history of technology. I really recommend it... wondering why China is leading the manufacturing nowadays? Well, you might want to know a bit about their thousands of years in developing technology.
Mike
This book contains, among much other interesting stuff, one of my favorite sentences: "Gunpowder seems to have been discovered in China by accident--ironically, by alchemists seeking the elixir of immortality."
Mikel
Good. There are a lot of parts to this book so I skipped around a bit to those parts that most interested me. Very informative and entertaining. Great for reference for writers.
Joshua
Fascinating. I did not read it in one sitting but rather about a year period. It made me more inquisitive about science/engineering and the art of invention.
Morgan Summerfield
I never cease to be amazed by the things people can dream up...and by how much knowledge is lost over time. One of my thought trigger books.
Nancy
Sep 26, 2011 Nancy added it
fascinating- B.C. Brain surgery, anasthesia, magnets, batteries, magnifying glasses.
John Pae
You never know what is possible without technology until you read this book.
Colin
I love this book! Definitely fun the the ancient historian.
Liz
An absolutely phenomenal book. Highly recommended reading.
PWRL
Jan 31, 2012 PWRL marked it as to-read
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Peter James is a British author and historian specialising in ancient history and archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean region. He graduated in ancient history and archeology at the University of Birmingham (England) and does postgraduate research at University College London.

James has advanced several controversial theories about the chronology of Mediterranean civilizations, the Middle East,
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