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Civilization

Out Of The Fiery Furnace: The Impact Of Metals On The History Of Mankind Robert Raymond

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In this book; Robert Raymond follows the fascinating route from the earliest known metal smelting site; in the arid Sinai Desert or Israel; to the flood-plain of the Yellow River in China; to discover the secrets of the exquisite Shang bronzes; and to reveal newly-discovered iron-casting techniques which were 1500 years ahead of the West; to the stronghold of the Hittites in Anatolia; where the Iron Age may be said to have begun; to villages in India where metal-working techniques have hardly changed in 5000 years; to the misty peaks of the Andes in Peru; in the steps of the conquistadors' savage treasure-hunt for gold; to the gaunt ruins of the Industrial Revolution in England; to the world of mechanical robots in Japan; and to the desert sands of Alamagordo in the United States; where the unstable metal uranium was made to produce the world's first atomic explosion. Metals played a vital role in the rise and fall of empires; and the broad historical shifts of power and influence from one part of the word to another. Metals were a critical factor in all of mankind's most significant advances: the introduction of coinage; the invention of printing; the harnessing of steam; the discovery of electricity; the achievement of flight. And a small but critical group of radio-active metals; which are both consumed and created in that last and most fiery furnace; now present us with a deadly dilemma and an awesome choice. This is the story of man the metalsmith; through all his amazing creations; from the most sublime works of art to the most devastating of weapons; and of his raw materials; the metals which run like shining threads through the whole tapestry of human history.

Civilization - History; Metallurgy - History; Technology and civilization

Publisher Pennsylvania State University Press. 2000. 274 pages