The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson
A Story Of Science, Faith, Revolution, And The Birth Of America

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Synopsis

From the bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From, The Ghost Map and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new national bestseller: the “exhilarating”( Los Angeles Times) story of Joseph Priestley, “a founding father long forgotten”(Newsweek) and a brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America's Founding Fathers.

In The Invention of Air, national bestselling author Steven Johnson tells the fascinating story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the uses of oxygen, scientific experimentation, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. As he did so masterfully in The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovative strategies, intellectual models, and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs.
 

About Steven Johnson

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STEVEN JOHNSON is the author of the bestsellers The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, Everything Bad Is Good for You, and Mind Wide Open, as well as Emergence and Interface Culture. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites—currently, outside.in—and is a contributing editor to Wired. He lives in Brooklyn, with his wife and sons.
 
Published September 29, 2009 by Riverhead Trade. 304 pages
Genres: Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Invention of Air

The New York Times

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Steven Johnson’s portrait of the 18th-century chemist, theologian and perennial agitator Joseph Priestley is also a lament about the intellectual specialization of our modern age.

Jan 03 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

The New York Times

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A look at the classical age of science and the early history of the United States through the work of the remarkable Joseph Priestley.

Jan 25 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

BC Books

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A dissertation on Priestly's scientific, theological, and educational ideas, how they affected the founders of the U.S. and how his activities are important today.

Dec 25 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

BC Books

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A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America, more or less describes Johnson's The Invention of Air.

Apr 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

BC Books

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In fact, it would serve them well to review Johnson's extensive bibliography and delve into some primary sources, providing those are not all more wild praise for a sloppy, second-rate scientist whose willy-nilly experiments more stumbled into new knowledge than proved any theories.

Apr 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

BC Books

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Joseph Priestly apparently had attention deficit disorder - and it served him well.

Dec 25 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

Examiner

Together, all those forces converged on him, as the Samson struggled against the current bearing west to the New World…” As we proceed into an uncertain future, Steven Johnson asserts, we must rely on old institutions and remain hostage to what James O’Toole characterizes as “the ideology of co...

Nov 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

San Francisco Chronicle

(It is particularly disappointing that the potential metaphor between Priestley's unquestioning commitment to Christian principles, and his similarly unwavering commitment to the phlogiston theory in chemistry, is left not only unexplored but also unmentioned.) One can no longer simply assume, as...

Jan 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

Bookmarks Magazine

Paul Collins Seattle Times 4 of 5 Stars "Author Steven Johnson uses the life of Priestley, a kitchen-sink experimenter, to sketch the connections between science, politics and religion.

Jan 11 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

https://blogcritics.org

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Joseph Priestly apparently had attention deficit disorder - and it served him well.  Well, ...A dissertation on Priestly's scientific, theological, and educational ideas, how they affected the founders of the U.S. and how his activities are important today.

Dec 25 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

Boing Boing

And it turns out there's a pleasing symmetry between the story the book tells and the information networks of our own time, because this is the first book that I have written where Google Books played an absolutely indispensable role.

Jan 16 2009 | Read Full Review of The Invention of Air: A Story...

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