This is a wonderful revision for young readers of the best-selling non fiction book, How We Got to Now, based upon research gathered during production of the BBC and PBS TV series of the same name. This book is very well designed, bound, and printed, with welcome photos throughout. The hardbound version is about 140 pages, and sized 8 x 10.5 inches, and about 3/4 of an inch thick. It would make for a nice gift for the inquisitive people in your life, young or old.
Here, the book is segmented into a welcome introduction, along with chapters on Glass, Cold, Sound, Clean, Time, and Light. Each chapter actually spans quite a lot of history and detail, and is chronological. So for example, the chapter on glass starts with jewelry from ancient Egypt, to Venetian blown glass, all the way up to modern telescopes. I really appreciate how the book reveals the cause and effects of the various inventions which shape modern life, and how incremental growth can be inspired by unexpected causes, like how the the invention of eyeglasses was spurred on by the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press, which revealed to would-be readers that they couldn’t see details as well as others. It’s a fascinating and, ultimately, inspiring journey, for young people (of any age!).
Steven Johnson is the popular, bestselling author of Wonderland and How We Got to Now, among other adult books. He was the host and co-creator of the PBS series How We Got to Now and has written for many blogs and publications, including TIME, Wired, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.