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Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet

Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet
Author: Ian F. McNeely
ISBN 13: 9780393337716
ISBN 10: 393337715
Edition: 1
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 2009-09-08
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
List Price: $22.95

“It has the power to wrench familiar aspects of history into new and surprising shapes.”—Laura Miller, Salon


The book has enjoyed ubiquitous presence in the modern world, and although threatened by the expansion of the Internet, it remains humankind's most effective repository of knowledge. McNeely and Wolverton, both associate professors at the University of Oregon, attempt to condense the history of the transmission of knowledge, tracing a journey from the earliest Greek and Roman oral traditions to the virtual world in which we now live. Among the many stops on this trip, the use of loose-leaf sheets assembled, bound, and opening down the middle represented an advancement both for the reader and the writer in its ease of use and reproducibility. The authors succinctly achieve their well-researched and thoroughly documented survey of knowledge in a readable and engaging style. They highlight the accomplishments that the personalities involved, such as Marie Curie and Plato, took to spread and develop knowledge and a better understanding of the world. A good addition to the high school or public library, this book will appeal to senior high students and librarians, as well as other adults interested in how books and the propagation of knowledge evolved throughout the ages. Of particular interest are the many anecdotes, as well as the book's elaborate cast of historical characters, many of them women, who contributed to secure the book's perennial role in society, a function now challenged by the Internet. Reviewer: Etienne Vallee