One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 11, 2001 - Architecture - 176 pages
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The Best Tool of the Millennium
The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by The New York Times, whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." The award-winning author of Home, A Clearing in the Distance, and Now I Sit Me Down, Rybczynski once built a house using only hand tools. His intimate knowledge of the toolbox -- both its contents and its history -- serves him beautifully on his quest.

One Good Turn is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry. Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope -- in short, no enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization.

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ONE GOOD TURN: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

As much as Frederick Law Olmstead, the hero of Rybczynski's acclaimed previous effort (A Clearing in the Distance, 1999), changed the face of America, the subject of his new study has changed the ... Read full review

One good turn: a natural history of the screwdriver and the screw

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

What a delightful book! Who would have guessed that something as ordinary and useful as the screwdriver and the screw would also be so fascinating. When asked by the New York Times Magazine to write ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Witold Rybczynski is the author of nine books, including Home, City Life, and the national bestseller A Clearing in the Distance, for which he won a Christopher Award and the J. Anthony Lukas Prize. He is a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Review of Books. He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.

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