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TatianaBoshenka

TatianaBoshenka

The Ancient Engineers - L. Sprague de Camp This is a really well-written book about the history of humankind as seen through the lens of changing technology. To me, political history is less explanatory of why our societies are like they are in each era. Political history doesn't seem to explain much to me. That may be because I'm a science geek.

The history of technology, as it's shown here, has much more explanatory power. Why castles and chivalry and a feudal social order? The technology of war at the time had defensive tech far stronger than offensive tech. Thus castles, which were impenetrable, ruled. Noblemen in their armor who couldn't be hurt by some poor knave with a rock, won the day. Once gunpowder and the longbow were invented, the social fabric of feudalism also died. Very interesting insight there.

It makes a huge difference that the writer is a real writer, as well. DeCamp wrote lots of good science fiction. So this book has the tendency to grab ones attention and not let go. It's a page turner about history!

It's three decades out of date, at this point, but little has changed in our understanding of the subject at hand. A great read about a fascinating subject. I'm delighted to have revisited it.