Science and Technology in World History

ABC-CLIO. 2 vols. Feb. 2020. 821p. ed. by ed. by Willliam E. Burns. ISBN 9781440871160. $204. REF
Historian Burns’s (The Scientific Revolution) revision and expansion of the “Science and Technology” section in ABC-CLIO’s 2011 World History Encyclopedia offers an overview of historical scientific and technological developments, from an explanation of how Paleolithic humans created and used their earliest tools to an examination of the latest advances in computer technology and medical care. The work includes topics from all continents and eras and is organized chronologically and thematically into nine standard periods of world history, with an extended index that makes locating topics and subjects a snap. Not surprisingly, more is written about topics from 1900 and beyond, although the longest section in either volume is on the “Expanding Regional Civilizations 300–1000 CE Era.” Each chronological chapter begins with a broad look at that period, followed by thematic divisions, with entries addressing a variety of geographical regions, cultures, or areas of scientific and technological change. Each entry is signed with a bibliography for further reading. The set also includes a lengthy and informative time line of significant developments. Burns and contributors are scholars who write in a precise but understandable style that captures the essential aspects of their topics intriguingly and instructively.
VERDICT This set explains scientific achievement over centuries while offering a glimpse at where technology may take us. Middle and high school students will find the subject matter excellent for reports and background research, while nonspecialists and history and science buffs will value the wide selection of topics and authoritative presentation of the authors.
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