Friday, 18 September 2009

FACTUAL BOOK REVIEW: The Gutenberg Revolution - John Man


In 1450, all Europe's books were handcopied and amounted to only a few thousand. By 1500 they were printed, and numbered in their millions. The invention of one man - Johann Gutenberg - had caused a revolution. Printing by movable type was a discovery waiting to happen. Born in 1400 in Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg struggled against a background of plague and religious upheaval to bring his remarkable invention to light. His story is full of paradox: his ambition was to reunite all Christendom, but his invention shattered it; he aimed to make a fortune, but was cruelly denied the fruits of his life's work. Yet history remembers him as a visionary; his discovery marks the beginning of the modern world.


I’ve read a hell of a lot of John Man’s offerings and with each new book something new is brought clearly, concisely and above all in an interesting an informative manner to the reader. With previous books including the story of Genghis Khan and Atilla the Hun it might come as a bit of a surprise when the reader see’s that he’s tackled the world of printing and its origins on how books became more available for the masses. As a huge reader I’d hate to have lived in a world where books were only for the rich and its mainly due to the Gutenberg Revolution that they became the phenomena that they are today. If you have an interest in printing or just a sheer fascination for popular history then this is the book for you.

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