Ancient Inventions

Front Cover
Ballantine Books, 1994 - Reference - 672 pages
2 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-opening book reveal, some of humankind's most important and most amazing inventions actually date back thousands of years.
Historian Peter James and archaeologist Nick Thorpe have pooled their expertise in amassing this compendium of human ingenuity through the ages. Together they conclusively prove that our ancestors, however long ago they lived and whatever part of the globe they occupied, were brilliant problem-solvers. Written with the pure joy of discovery, Ancient Inventions reveals that:
* Medieval Baghdad had an efficient postal service, banks, and a paper mill.
* Rudimentary calendars were being used in France as early as 13,000 B.C.
* Apartment condominiums rose in deserts of the American Southwest a
thousand years ago.
* The ancient Greeks used an early form of computer.
* Plastic surgery was being performed in India by the first century B.C.
* The Egyptians knew about effective contraceptives.
* Flamethrowers were used in battles waged in tenth-century China.
Brimming with odd facts and entertaining curiosities, written with zest and humor, comprehensive and fun to read, Ancient Inventions is a wonderful celebration of the endless inventiveness of the human mind.
"This presentation of the discoveries and innovations of the ancients will fascinate."
--Booklist
"Thoroughly researched...It is doubtful that anyone could examine [this book] without coming away enlightened in one of its broadly ranging areas."
--Library Journal
AN ALTERNATE SELECTION OF THE QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB AND THE NATURAL SCIENCE BOOK CLUB

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Ancient inventions

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You leave your seventh-floor apartment, curse the congested traffic that delays you, and stop at a fast-food restaurant on your way to have cataract surgery. You live in Rome in A.D. 25. Ancient ... Read full review

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Information on the Pharaoh Hound is incorrect. DNA testing has proven this breed of dog is not ancient is really a modern breed. The Pharaoh Hound—and similar Mediterranean breeds—are all native to Southern European countries, owned by farmers and used for hunting rabbits in a style that is distinctly Roman—it appears this very real history is not enough for some people who need a fictionalized and more romantic past. 

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IV
2
V
11
VI
18
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About the author (1994)

Peter James was born in Brighton, England on August 22, 1948. He graduated from Ravensbourne Film School and worked as screen writer and film producer for several years. He began his writing career in 1979 and has written over 25 books including Dead Letter Drop, Twilight, Host, Alchemist, The Perfect Murder, Perfect People, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series.

Nick Thorpe is an award-winning writer and journalist. A contributor to The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, Scotsman", and BBC Radio 4", among others, he has covered stories ranging from Russian presidential elections to the coca wars of Bolivia, for which he was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.

Thorpe, an archeologist in prehistory, studied at Reading and London Universities and is presently Lecturer in Archeology at King Alfred's College, Winchester. He is the Director of research projects in Britain and Denmark.

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