The Knowledge Web by James Burke
From Electronic Agents to Stonehenge and Back -- And Other Journeys Through Knowledge

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Synopsis

In The Knowledge Web, James Burke, the bestselling author and host of television's Connections series, takes us on a fascinating tour through the interlocking threads of knowledge running through Western history. Displaying mesmerizing flights of fancy, he shows how seemingly unrelated ideas and innovations bounce off one another, spinning a vast, interactive web on which everything is connected to everything else: Carmen leads to the theory of relativity, champagne bottling links to wallpaper design, Joan of Arc connects through vaudeville to Buffalo Bill.

Illustrating his open, connective theme in the form of a journey across a web, Burke breaks down complex concepts, offering information in a manner accessible to anybody -- high school graduates and Ph.D. holders alike. The journey touches almost two hundred interlinked points in the history of knowledge, ultimately ending where it begins.

At once amusing and instructing, The Knowledge Web heightens our awareness of our interdependence -- with one another and with the past. Only by understanding the interrelated nature of the modern world can we hope to identify complex patterns of change and direct the process of innovation to the common good.
 

About James Burke

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James Burke's books include the bestselling Connections and The Day the Universe Changed. He contributes a monthly column to Scientific American and serves as director, writer and host of the television series Connections 3, which airs on the Learning Channel. He lives in England, France and airplanes.
 
Published May 8, 2010 by Simon & Schuster. 290 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Education & Reference, Science & Math, History, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction

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Burke again makes use of “gateways” in his narrative, a system of numeric codes that link distant strands within the text into a literary subspace, allowing readers to skip about throughout the book, as if Burke’s caperings aren’t entertainment enough, though it does drive home why Burke is so pl...

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Publishers Weekly

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Continuing in the vein of The Pinball Effect, his unconventional history of technological change, Burke offers 20 new historical ""story lines"" that attempt to demonstrate the interactive, often serendipitous connections among ideas, events, people and innovations.

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