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The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstanceby Henry Petroski
Synopses & Reviews
Henry Petroski traces the origins of the pencil back to ancient Greece and Rome, writes factually and charmingly about its development over the centuries and around the world, and shows what the pencil can teach us about engineering and technology today.
"Very engaging and wonderfully informative....No reader of this book will ever be able to pick up a pencil again without marveling." Hilton Kramer, Newsday
"So engrossing that I read it through in one sitting....An utterly absorbing history." Martin Gardner, Raleigh News and Observer
"Beguiling...surprising, entertaining, informative. One could scarcely ask a book to be more!" Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
"Petroski argues his case with wry humor and an amplitude of anecdotage drawn from many centuries and continents....[A] book that will appeal to ordinary readers and yet seems destined as well to become a minor classic in academe." Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic
"You will never feel the same about the pencil after you read this terrific book." Larry King, USA Today
"Petroski's delightful, elegant history of the lowly pencil is a mind-sharpener, a revelation....Petroski illuminates the intersection of engineering, history, economics and culture." Publishers Weekly
"This well-crafted survey is an appropriate purchase for academic and public libraries, since its contents are a straightforward contribution to the story of technology." Library Journal
"An incredibly rich and complex history of this entirely unremarkable instrument of communication....Many high school students, especially those with an interest in design, will enjoy this book." School Library Journal
Traces the origins of the pencil back to Ancient Greece and Rome; shows us how it is made; tells the story of the pencil's most famous makers.
"Very engaging and wonderfully informative.... The Pencil unfolds a history of invention, craftsmanship, engineering, manufacture and business that is also at times a history of cultural life on both sides of the Atlantic...No reader of this book will ever be able to pick up a pencil again without marveling."
-- Hilton Kramer, Newsday
"So engrossing that I read it through in one sitting... An utterly absorbing history
-- Martin Gardner, Raleigh News and Observer
"Beguiling...surprising, entertaining, informative. One could scarcely ask a book to be more!... using the story of the pencil as a paradigm, Petroski shows how the process of engineering unfolds and [how] the pencil is the end result of process that parallels those by which products of much greater sophistication — computers, for example — are invented designed manufactured and improved."
-- Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
"A serious and charming history... Petroski argues his case with wry humor and an amplitude of anecdotage drawn from many centuries and continents. The Pencil is that great rarity, a book that will appeal to ordinary readers and yet seems destined as well to become a minor classic in academe."
-- Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic
"You will never feel the same about the pencil after you read this terrific book."
-- Larry King, USA Today
About the Author
Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. The author of eleven previous books, he lives in Durham, North Carolina.
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Arts and Entertainment » Art » Design History