The Lunar Men: The Inventors of the Modern World 1730-1810

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9780571216109: The Lunar Men: The Inventors of the Modern World 1730-1810

Led by the larger-than-life Erasmus Darwin, the Lunar Society of Birmingham were a group of eighteenth-century amateur experimenters who met monthly on the Monday night nearest to the full moon. Echoing to the thud of pistons and the wheeze of snorting engines, Jenny Uglow's vivid and swarming group portrait brings to life the inventors, artisans and tycoons who shaped and fired the modern world. Here's just a few of the many great reviews for The Lunar Men: 'An exhilarating book, filled with wonders ...Jenny Uglow is the most perfect historian imaginable.' Peter Ackroyd, The Times 'An irresistible book, rich as a Christmas pudding in its detail. Uglow is the perfect guide, lucid, intelligent, sympathetic and wise. A wonderful subject has found its perfect historian.' Spectator 'A constant delight ...Beautifully illustrated with many plates and diagrams, The Lunar Men lays bare the forces that prepared the way for the modern world.' John Carey, Sunday Times 'I loved them, every one, from the vagaries of Dr Erasmus Darwin, who listed boredom and credulity along with scabies as human afflictions, to Josiah Wedgwood's dismissal of a chic sculptor's rococo models as 'the head of a drowned puppy'. Uglow, uniquely, can do things, thoughts and well-rounded people in the round. Nobody else writes so perceptively about the power of friendship. Great stuff.' Guardian

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Review:

In the late 1700s, five gifted inventors and amateur scholars in Birmingham, England, came together for what one of them, Erasmus Darwin, called "a little philosophical laughing." They also helped kick-start the industrial revolution, as Jenny Uglow relates in the lively The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World. Their "Lunar Society" included Joseph Priestley, the chemist who isolated oxygen; James Watt, the Scottish inventor of the steam engine; and Josiah Wedgwood, whose manufacture of pottery created the industrial model for the next century. Joined by other "toymakers" and scholarly tinkerers, they concocted schemes for building great canals and harnessing the power of electricity, coined words such as "hydrogen" and "iridescent," shared theories and bank accounts, fended off embezzlers and industrial spies, and forged a fine "democracy of knowledge." And they had a fine time doing so, proving that scholars need not be dullards or eccentrics asocial.

Uglow's spirited look at this group of remarkable "lunaticks" captures a critical, short-lived moment of early modern history. Readers who share their conviction that knowledge brings power will find this book a rewarding adventure. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Jenny Uglow grew up in Cumbria and now works in publishing. Her books include prize-winning biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell and William Hogarth. The Lunar Men, published in 2002, was described by Richard Holmes as 'an extraordinarily gripping account', while Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick, won the National Arts Writers Award for 2007 and A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration was shortlisted for the 2010 Samuel Johnson Prize. Her most recent book In These Times, a comprehensive history of the home front during the Napoleonic Wars, was described as 'a remarkable book written by an award-winning historian at the peak of her powers'. She lives in Canterbury.

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Book Description FABER FABER, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Main. Language: English . Brand New Book. Led by the larger-than-life Erasmus Darwin, the Lunar Society of Birmingham were a group of eighteenth-century amateur experimenters who met monthly on the Monday night nearest to the full moon. Echoing to the thud of pistons and the wheeze of snorting engines, Jenny Uglow s vivid and swarming group portrait brings to life the inventors, artisans and tycoons who shaped and fired the modern world. Here s just a few of the many great reviews for The Lunar Men: An exhilarating book, filled with wonders .Jenny Uglow is the most perfect historian imaginable. Peter Ackroyd, The Times An irresistible book, rich as a Christmas pudding in its detail. Uglow is the perfect guide, lucid, intelligent, sympathetic and wise. A wonderful subject has found its perfect historian. Spectator A constant delight .Beautifully illustrated with many plates and diagrams, The Lunar Men lays bare the forces that prepared the way for the modern world. John Carey, Sunday Times I loved them, every one, from the vagaries of Dr Erasmus Darwin, who listed boredom and credulity along with scabies as human afflictions, to Josiah Wedgwood s dismissal of a chic sculptor s rococo models as the head of a drowned puppy . Uglow, uniquely, can do things, thoughts and well-rounded people in the round. Nobody else writes so perceptively about the power of friendship. Great stuff. Guardian. Bookseller Inventory # AA99780571216109

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