The Invention of Air: A Story Of Science, Faith, Revolution, And The Birth Of America

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Penguin, Dec 26, 2008 - Science - 304 pages
18 Reviews
From the bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From, The Ghost Map and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new national bestseller: the “exhilarating”( Los Angeles Times) story of Joseph Priestley, “a founding father long forgotten”(Newsweek) and a brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America's Founding Fathers.

In The Invention of Air, national bestselling author Steven Johnson tells the fascinating story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the uses of oxygen, scientific experimentation, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. As he did so masterfully in The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovative strategies, intellectual models, and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs.

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User Review  - gayla.bassham - LibraryThing

Wow. A very thoughtful look at a little-known British scientist/thinker at the end of the eighteenth century. I liked Johnson's approach to history, his thoughts about progress, and his linkage ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bibleblaster - LibraryThing

Coffee as a motivating force in The Enlightenment? How can I not rave about this book? Never mind that Joseph Priestley was this amazing indivdual, amateur chemist making wildly important discoveries ... Read full review


Authors Note
Rose and Nightshade
A Comet in the System

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About the author (2008)

Steven Johnson is the author of the national bestsellers Everything Bad Is Good for You and Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life, as well as Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software and Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate.

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