356 pages, 8 b/w illustrations
Mining in World History deals with the history of mining and smelting from the Renaissance to the present day, drawing out, in an engaging and fast-paced fashion, the interplay of personalities, politics and technology which have together shaped the metallurgical industries over the last 500 years. Martin Lynch opens with the invention, sometime before the year 1453, of a revolutionary technique for separating silver from copper, an event that revived the rich copper-silver mines of central Europe and the ruling ambitions of the Habsburg emperors who owned them. The author shows how the flood of silver from Spain's newly-conquered American colonies brought about the demise of these mines, and goes on to examine the far-reaching changes brought to mining and smelting by the steam engine and the Industrial Revolution. Mining in World History then looks at the era of the gold rushes and the comprehensive developments in mineral extraction and technology that took place in the United States and South Africa at the end of the nineteenth century, and describes the spread of mass metal-production techniques across the world amid the violent struggles of the twentieth century and the energy crises of the 1970s.
Written by an author vastly experienced in the field, Mining in World History is the first book to provide an account of how and why change and advance in this global industry have taken place in different eras and locations around the world. As such it will appeal to the industry specialist as well as to the general reader who wants to know more about a field that has been fundamental to the construction of industrial civilization.
"This is quite simply the best history ever published on the role of mining in shaping world events. It performs the huge task of making sense of a complex range of industries that took many forms and produced many products, over centuries of change and development across every continent on earth. It does so in just 350 pages of succinct but comprehensive prose, remarkably free of errors of both fact and judgment [...] Martin Lynch has managed to present the big picture of mining."
– Historic Environment
"a very profound book about a very profound subject. It can, and will, be used as a reference work, yet it is a splendid story well told. The reader with an interest in history, politics, and economics will find the book rewarding indeed [...] The reader with a background in mining history will find the book a joy from beginning to end. The book builds momentum, the farther along the reader progresses, the more exciting the narrative becomes."
– Anthracite History Journal
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Martin Lynch is Australian and has been employed in the mining industry for more than ten years. He is currently working for a well-known consultancy, conducting research on the global metallurgical industries.