Sánchez-Jáuregui, María Dolores, & Scott Wilcox. The English Prize: The Capture of the Westmorland, an Episode of the Grand Tour. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. ISBN 978-0300176056. The 1779 capture of a British vessel laden with exquisite works from Rome &… Read More ›
The much celebrated Voltaire (1694-1778) is illustrious today for a single, superlative book: Candide. Yet not only did he spawn some 2 000 now rather neglected stories, plays, essays, & poems, all while schmoozing his endless roll of powerful friends with over 20 000 letters. He enjoyed a rare & impressive second chance at life, indeed almost a second… Read More ›
Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm. Princeton NJ: Princeton UP, 2012. ISBN 978-0691153407. Vastly informative, if over-loyal, history of the central corporate player during Germany’s umatched industrial metamorphosis, from late 18th Century to modern, space-ready days. I give ****/5. * (Webfront illustration caption… Read More ›
Jones, Peter M. Industrial Enlightenment: Science, Technology, & Culture in Birmingham & the West Midlands 1760-1820. Manchester, UK: Manchester UP, 2013 (2008). ISBN 978-0719089121. Outstanding academic analysis & survey of the lush intellectual environment around key Industrial Revolution pioneers during the late… Read More ›
Lynch, Martin. Mining in World History. London: Reaktion Books, 2002. ISBN 978-1861891730. Historical narrative of mining & metallurgy from Renaissance to our age, illuminating its vast political, economic, & technological ramifications. Thoughtful, informative, reads like a novel. I give ****/5. * (Webfront photo caption & credit… Read More ›
A few years ago, board game designer Martin Wallace – usually very apt at gauging & hitting a trend with his popular productions – released a game the success of which he had not expected. Since then this game has consistently featured among the Top 10 most popular productions in the board gaming subculture. By… Read More ›
Historians sometimes speak of an Early Enlightenment. If so, when did that phenomenon emerge, or begin? How did it evolve into the more familiar Enlightenment “proper”? The question is old, but less trivial than ever, precisely because conceptions around the Enlightenment have… Read More ›
Voltaire. Micromégas, Zadig, Candide. Paris: GF Flammarion, 1994, 2006. ISBN 978-2080712936. 3 tales. Far most forceful & glorious is Candide, presciently written near the time of Voltaire’s own move to Ferney. Micromégas is also worth a read as early science-fiction. I give *****/5.
Gleick, James. Isaac Newton. Paperback ed. London: Harper Perennial, 2004. ISBN 978-0007163182. The essentials about Isaac Newton, last of the great magicians, early Enlightenment man. Ordered, entertaining, but short on the math. I give ***/5.
Diderot, Denis. Le Neveu de Rameau, in Contes & Romans. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. Paris: Gallimard, 2004. ISBN 978-2080701435. Enlightenment thought was not all naïveté. Diderot exposes the dark underbelly of his age in this tearing portrait of a man gifted, yet… Read More ›