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Paper: paging through history – tekijä:…
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Paper: paging through history (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2016; vuoden 2016 painos)

– tekijä: Mark Kurlansky

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5411232,805 (3.7)18
Paper is one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past two millennia, the ability to produce it in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce, and art. It has created civilizations, fostering the fomenting of revolutions and the stabilizing of regimes. Witness history's greatest press run, which produced 6.5 billion copies of Mao zhu xi yu lu, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Zedong), or the fact that Leonardo da Vinci left behind only 15 paintings but 4,000 works on paper. Now, on the cusp of "going paperless"--And amid rampant speculation about the effects of a digitally dependent society-we've come to a world-historic juncture to examine what paper means to civilization. Through tracing paper's evolution, Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology's influence, affirming that paper is here to stay. 'Paper' will be the history that guides us forward in the twenty-first century and illuminates our times.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:RobertP
Teoksen nimi:Paper: paging through history
Kirjailijat:Mark Kurlansky
Info:New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2016]
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):****1/2
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Paper: Paging Through History (tekijä: Mark Kurlansky) (2016)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Turns out paper is not that interesting but this book makes the most of it. It cheats a lot by including lots of interesting history only tangentially related to paper. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
Not quite as engaging as some of his other works, but a very interesting history of something we see as so common! Always give a thumbs up to any book that is not totally Euro-centric. ( )
  JenniferElizabeth2 | Aug 25, 2020 |
This was a most frustrating book to read. It's a bit like Moby Dick: a grab bag of anecdotes, recipes, fragments of history, thrown in with a bit of travel writing. Kurlansky has given us a history of paper and he's more or less followed his own time-line that is printed at the back of the book. But with something like paper which has been developed, invented, modified, in many countries and many times over, I'm not sure that this is necessarily the best approach. Certainly, I found the anecdotal style annoying a lot of the time. We seem to be just bombarded with little snippets of history and also with some of Kulansky's prejudices....such as the observation on p296 that the (Chinese) cities have been ruined by high rise buildings. My impressions are that modern Chinese would prefer to live in a modern apartment than in a cold, leaky, wooden hovel....no matter how picturesque.
Since first writing this review I've read a few other reviews and must say that some of the reviewer's comments resonated with me. For example, one reviewer said that she thought the author had taken his notes on a bunch of 5x8 cards then just thrown them on the floor and put the book together as he's picked up the cards. A bit harsh...but it does have this feel about it. (Though, at least he's tried to put the cards in chronological order). The second reviewer made the observation that one section of the book was just a collection of data about mills in Europe that quickly became overwhelming ...just one mill after another. And I agree: it is overwhelming. Was it necessary to the story? I don't think so.
Personally, I would have liked to see a little more in the way of illustration of the paper making art. I've watched it at close quarters in Japan but I think the book would have benefited by more high quality illustrations.
And I'm not sure that his historical approach is necessarily the best way to proceed with a book like this. It inevitably has us jumping from China to Germany, to England, to France, to Holland, to The USA, then back to China, then Japan. ....It's the kind of "jumpiness" the I disliked so much with Moby Dick. What would be a better way to proceed? I'm not sure...but maybe focusing on some aspects of the technology...say the moulds....or the techniques used to make paper. Kurlansky...does have a view that he pushes fairly consistently and that is; inventions respond to changes in demand they do not lead to changes in demand. So the availability of printed books did not lead to increased literacy ....rather increased literacy led to increased demand for books. Well maybe he is right on this score ...I'm not sure. But, say, with the invention of the transistor....nobody quite knew what that was going to lead to. In the 1950's we thought it an absolute wonder that we could have a transistor radio (instead of a crystal set) ....but there was not too much talk at that time about personal computers or phones that could draw on a world wide web of data. My point being that the transistor was an invention that spawned new devices that hadn't even been thought about when it was invented. (I guess one could always argue that there was a pent up demand there for all those devices but really I think Kurlansky's claim is over-reach).
I also found it slightly annoying that in his discussion of the polluting effects of paper making the he never really asks the obvious question of why don't the paper mills recycle their own water instead of treating it and then feeding it back into the rivers? Clearly, they're not treating it well enough.
He has also obviously been to visit a few sites; the Glatfelter mill at Spring Grove, near Gettysburg; and the artisans producing hand made paper in the Basque country in Northern Spain.....because (I feel) he treats us to a slightly romanticised version of each....maybe a little too much detail because it highlights the fact that he hasn't really visited all the other places he writes about with such authority.
OK...it was a bit annoying in style (or construction) but there are still a lot of interesting facts and interesting information covered. I was a little mystified about the way he dismisses the Mexican manufacture of amate as "not paper". Personally, I don't agree.It's basically the same process that is used elsewhere in the world. You take fibrous material (bark) boil it down (with an alkali) ..soften and beat out the fibres then overlay the fibres into a flat sheet. They do this by beating it out with a pounder rather than by floating a suspension in water and using a mould... but the process is essentially the same and the end result more or less the same as paper. Also he says p154 that the Mexicans make a lye powder made from soaking maize. I think this is quite wrong. You don't get a lye powder from soaking maize. Rather, the Mexicans soak the hard maize seeds in a lime solution to soften the epicarp (the hard yellow casing of the maize seed) so that they can then make "masa" and from that make the corn tortillas. So, the same kind of lime solution (or similar) is used for treating the inner bark of the fig tree to produce the amate.
And, whilst on the subject of Mexico...maybe we get a little too much of the history of the conquistadores rather than keeping the focus on paper.
Overall. Yes it's interesting. Yes there is a lot of information there. But overall, I found it a bit of a jumble.....three stars from me. ( )
  booktsunami | May 10, 2020 |
Really enjoyed this one. It's a nice marriage of big thematic stuff (in this case, looking at the relationship of society and technology) with lots of lovely intriguing detail (about paper-making, about related processes, about the things people do and why and how). The style was easy and intelligent without being opaque. Somewhat Eurocentric in structure, but doing its best to de-Euro-fy the relevant history. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
I'm a big fan of Mark Kurlansky, but this isn't my favourite of his books. It seems like there wasn't quite enough to say about paper as the book ranges pretty widely. That said, he did stay largely in the realm of paper's role in technological development (and vice versa) and could have gone more deeply into literary and cultural influences.

Still, as always, I learned a lot and this author makes me think. I liked his concept of the technological fallacy of invention changing culture...he's of the necessity is the mother of invention school. I think this may have been more true in the past. Today, we have planned obsolescence and constant small changes in technology...is each new software version or iPhone really necessary? He also made me realize that the things we worry about don't change....paper was going to displace the memory required of the oral tradition, and now we worry that voice dialing and google will replace memory.

So read it...and read his books about cod and about salt, too. ( )
  LynnB | Jun 4, 2019 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
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Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Upright and pious Pierre le Vénérable, Peter the venerable, a twelfth-century monk from the Cluny monastery in France, visited Spain and observed that the Arabs and Jews there, rather than using animal skins, wrote even religious texts on leaves made from old clothes-- what quality stationers today call "100 percent rag paper."
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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Paper is one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past two millennia, the ability to produce it in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce, and art. It has created civilizations, fostering the fomenting of revolutions and the stabilizing of regimes. Witness history's greatest press run, which produced 6.5 billion copies of Mao zhu xi yu lu, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Zedong), or the fact that Leonardo da Vinci left behind only 15 paintings but 4,000 works on paper. Now, on the cusp of "going paperless"--And amid rampant speculation about the effects of a digitally dependent society-we've come to a world-historic juncture to examine what paper means to civilization. Through tracing paper's evolution, Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology's influence, affirming that paper is here to stay. 'Paper' will be the history that guides us forward in the twenty-first century and illuminates our times.

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