Ideas that Changed the World, from DK
This is one of the most fascinating books I've seen from DK in the past year or so, and that is saying a lot. The book is exactly what the title would indicate--a compendium of ideas that describes how the initial discovery, inspiration, or chance occurrence progressed through the steps of its production and applications to products that have truly changed the world.
Or at least made it more fun (I'm not sure lego has truly changed the world, although it does, on a regular basis, change the hazard level of my living room floor).
Each "idea" gets a two page spread, with typical DK high-resolution images and succinct nuggets of text:
The people behind the ideas (such as Jacques Cousteau, discussed in this spread) are an important part of DK's discussion, as are the historical background of the problem being addressed and the technology available with which to address it. DK doesn't shy away from mention of problems concomitant with some of these inventions, such as pollution, although I, myself, would have put in Lots More about this part of the picture, and the consequences of many of these ideas. And indeed, the tone is, in general, celebratory. The technology of warfare (with a few exceptions, such as unmanned spy planes) is not addressed (despite the impact military spending has, and continues to have, on the development of new technology).
In short, it's entertaining and educational reading for anyone interested in how the world we live in, with its heavy imprint of technology, came about. I highly recommend it to the curious child (or adult).
(I was struck by the book's pink spine and pink endpapers. Is this a conscious effort to appeal to girls? Not unsurprisingly, boys dominate inside...which, sadly, can't be avoided. And veering off topic, my son just started lego robotics--and not a single girl in his class signed up. Sigh).
The Non-Fiction Monday round-up is at Wrapped in Foil today!
Disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher.