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50 Erdschätze, die Unsere Welt Veränderten [Fifty Minerals That Changed the Course of History]

Popular Science

By: Eric Chaline(Author), David Lüthi(Translated by)

224 pages, 290 colour & b/w photos and colour & b/w illustrations

Verlag Paul Haupt

Hardback | Sep 2015 | #225526 | ISBN-13: 9783258078830
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-4 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £34.99 $45/€38 approx

About this book

Language: German

Using the word "minerals" in its broadest sense, 50 Erdschätze, die Unsere Welt Veränderten features the metals, alloys, rocks, organic minerals, and gemstones that humans have used as the building blocks of their material cultures. 50 Erdschätze, die Unsere Welt Veränderten opens with the materials that defined the earliest stages of human development: the flint and obsidian of the Stone Age; and the metals, bronze and iron, that have given their names to the two subsequent historical phases. The roots of industry are explored in clay, and of trade in salt.

The great classical civilizations of the Old and New Worlds created extraordinary works of civic, funerary, and religious art in gold, silver, ivory, jade, alabaster, and marble that have not since been equaled, while their rulers adorned themselves with precious and semi-precious gems, such as pearls made of nacre and diamonds. In the Middle Ages Europeans discovered the explosive uses of sulfur and saltpeter – a combination known to us as gunpowder, long known to the Chinese.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, coal became the principal industrial fuel, and once rare materials, such as steel, became commonplace. During the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, coal made way for petroleum, and later uranium, and plutonium, and industry exploited new minerals, including tungsten, titanium, and aluminum. Although mostly beneficial to the technological progress of humanity, the uses of several minerals including lead, arsenic, and asbestos have had more sinister effects. In order to justify the assertion that they literally changed the course of history, each mineral is judged by its influence in four categories: "Cultural" (minerals that have an artistic, social, and religious significance), "Scientific" (minerals have been important in the development of science), "Commercial" (minerals used for trade), and "Practical" (minerals used for transportation, construction, and industry).

Summary in German:
Bibliophile Zeitreise und wertiges Geschenk: ein Buch, das zum Schmökern einlädt. Von Kupfer bis Plutonium, von Mineralien bis zu Perlmutt und Erdöl: 50 Erdschätze als bedeutende Elemente der Welthistorie. «Zum Golde drängt, am Golde hängt doch alles»: wie die Gier nach Edelmetallen die Menschheitsgeschichte prägte.

Minerale, Erze, Metalle und andere Erdschätze haben die Geschichte der Menschheit durch die Jahrtausende maßgeblich geprägt - so war es beispielsweise die Entdeckung des Kupfers und seine Verarbeitung zu Bronze, die das Ende der Steinzeit einläutete, und die Suche nach Gold, Silber und Diamanten, die die großen Entdeckungsreisen des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts motivierte. Und wie würde wohl unsere Gegenwart aussehen, wenn wir weder Stahl, Aluminium noch Erdöl kennen würden?

Eric Chaline unternimmt eine Zeitreise quer durch alle Kontinente und präsentiert fünfzig Erdschätze, die unsere Geschichte tiefgreifend beeinflusst haben. Mit Hinweisen auf Geschichte, Kunst, Wissenschaft, Technik und Forschung öffnet dieses reich illustrierte Buch den Blick für eine erstaunliche Welt.

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Fifty Minerals That Changed the Course of History

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