Glass: A World History

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9780226500287: Glass: A World History

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 navigators could see through the naked eye.

In Glass: A World History, Alan Macfarlane and Gerry Martin tell the fascinating story of how glass has revolutionized the way we see ourselves and the world around us. Starting ten thousand years ago with its invention in the Near East, Macfarlane and Martin trace the history of glass and its uses from the ancient civilizations of India, China, and Rome through western Europe during the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Industrial Revolution, and finally up to the present day. The authors argue that glass played a key role not just in transforming humanity's relationship with the natural world, but also in the divergent courses of Eastern and Western civilizations. While all the societies that used glass first focused on its beauty in jewelry and other ornaments, and some later made it into bottles and other containers, only western Europeans further developed the use of glass for precise optics, mirrors, and windows. These technological innovations in glass, in turn, provided the foundations for European domination of the world in the several centuries following the Scientific Revolution.

Clear, compelling, and quite provocative, Glass is an amazing biography of an equally amazing subject, a subject that has been central to every aspect of human history, from art and science to technology and medicine.

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Review:

Imagine a world without glass: no light bulbs, no windshields, no telescopes, no computer screens, and, of course, no glasses. "It is true that other substances, such as wood, bamboo, stone, and clay, can provide shelter and storage," write Alan MacFarlane and Gerry Martin in Glass: A World History. "What is special about glass is that it combines these and many other practical uses with the ability to extend the most potent of our senses, sight, and the most formidable of human organs, the brain." As a piece of technology, however, glass has received almost no previous attention. Nobody knows who invented it, though the ancient Egyptians or Mesopotamians are the likeliest candidates. It wasn't until Europe's early Renaissance, however, that glass was used for something more than mere jewelry and ceramics. It played a vital role in the growth of Western science, marking a key difference between European civilization and civilization everywhere else. "The invention of spectacles [in the 13th century] increased the intellectual life of professional workers by fifteen years or more," say the authors--a development of enormous economic and cultural importance that contributed to "the foundations for European domination over the whole world during the next centuries." This is a bold and beguiling thesis, and it's a wonder that it took until now for somebody to think of it and articulate it so well. --John J. Miller

About the Author:

Alan Macfarlane is a Professor of Anthropological Science at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King's College and the British Academy. His fourteen books include Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England, The Origins of English Individualism, and The Riddle of the Modern World.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2002. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 benefits of three-dimensional perspective, and ships would still be steered by what stars navigators could see through the naked eye. In Glass: A World History , Alan Macfarlane and Gerry Martin tell the fascinating story of how glass has revolutionized the way we see ourselves and the world around us. Starting ten thousand years ago with its invention in the Near East, Macfarlane and Martin trace the history of glass and its uses from the ancient civilizations of India, China and Rome through western Europe during the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, and finally up to the present day. The authors argue that glass played a key role not just in transforming humanity s relationship with the natural world, but also in the divergent courses of Eastern and Western civilizations. While all the societies that used glass first focused on its beauty in jewellery and other ornaments, and some later made it into bottles and other containers, only western Europeans further developed the use of glass for precise optics, mirrors and windows. These technological innovations in glass, in turn, provided the foundations for European domination of the world in the several centuries following the Scientific Revolution. Clear, compelling and quite provocative, Glass is an amazing biography of an equally amazing subject, a subject that as been central to every aspect of human history, from art and science to technology and medicine. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780226500287

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2002. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 benefits of three-dimensional perspective, and ships would still be steered by what stars navigators could see through the naked eye. In Glass: A World History , Alan Macfarlane and Gerry Martin tell the fascinating story of how glass has revolutionized the way we see ourselves and the world around us. Starting ten thousand years ago with its invention in the Near East, Macfarlane and Martin trace the history of glass and its uses from the ancient civilizations of India, China and Rome through western Europe during the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, and finally up to the present day. The authors argue that glass played a key role not just in transforming humanity s relationship with the natural world, but also in the divergent courses of Eastern and Western civilizations. While all the societies that used glass first focused on its beauty in jewellery and other ornaments, and some later made it into bottles and other containers, only western Europeans further developed the use of glass for precise optics, mirrors and windows. These technological innovations in glass, in turn, provided the foundations for European domination of the world in the several centuries following the Scientific Revolution. Clear, compelling and quite provocative, Glass is an amazing biography of an equally amazing subject, a subject that as been central to every aspect of human history, from art and science to technology and medicine. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780226500287

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2002. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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 benefits of three-dimensional perspective, and ships would still be steered by what stars navigators could see through the naked eye. In Glass: A World History , Alan Macfarlane and Gerry Martin tell the fascinating story of how glass has revolutionized the way we see ourselves and the world around us. Starting ten thousand years ago with its invention in the Near East, Macfarlane and Martin trace the history of glass and its uses from the ancient civilizations of India, China and Rome through western Europe during the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, and finally up to the present day. The authors argue that glass played a key role not just in transforming humanity s relationship with the natural world, but also in the divergent courses of Eastern and Western civilizations. While all the societies that used glass first focused on its beauty in jewellery and other ornaments, and some later made it into bottles and other containers, only western Europeans further developed the use of glass for precise optics, mirrors and windows. These technological innovations in glass, in turn, provided the foundations for European domination of the world in the several centuries following the Scientific Revolution. Clear, compelling and quite provocative, Glass is an amazing biography of an equally amazing subject, a subject that as been central to every aspect of human history, from art and science to technology and medicine. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780226500287

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Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. 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 p.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 288 pages. 0.413. Bookseller Inventory # 9780226500287

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