Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages
In this account of Europe's rise to world leadership in technology, Frances and Joseph Gies make use of recent scholarship to destroy two time-honored myths. Myth One: that Europe's leap forward occurred suddenly in the "Renaissance," following centuries of medieval stagnation. Not so, say the Gieses: Early modern technology and experimental science were direct outgrowths of the decisive innovations of medieval Europe, in the tools and techniques of agriculture, craft industry, metallurgy, building construction, navigation, and war. Myth Two: that Europe achieved its primacy through "Western" superiority. On the contrary, the authors report, many of Europe's most important inventions - the horse harness, the stirrup, the magnetic compass, cotton and silk cultivation and manufacture, papermaking, firearms, "Arabic" numerals - had their origins outside Europe, in China, India, and Islam. The Gieses show how Europe synthesized its own innovations - the three-field system, water power in industry, the full-rigged ship, the putting-out system - into a powerful new combination of technology, economics, and politics.
From the expansion of medieval man's capabilities, the voyage of Columbus with all its fateful consequences is seen as an inevitable product, while even the genius of Leonardo da Vinci emerges from the context of earlier and lesser-known dreamers and tinkerers.
Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel is illustrated with more than 90 photographs and drawings. It is a Split Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - TLCrawford - LibraryThing
I truly enjoyed reading Frances and Joseph Gies’ Cathedral, Forge and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages. When I first picked the book up I was primarily interested in learning ... Read full review
CATHEDRAL, FORGE, AND WATERWHEEL: Technology and Invention in the Middle AgesUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
In their latest medieval study, the Gieses (Life in a Medieval Village, 1990, etc.) explode the myth that the Middle Ages were unconcerned with the empirical and demonstrate that the Renaissance ... Read full review
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