978-0-684-85935-4 / 9780684859354

The Knowledge Web: From Electronic Agents to Stonehenge and Back -- And Other Journeys Through Knowledge


Publisher:Simon & Schuster



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About the book:

How is vivisection related to Stonehenge? It might take a few leaps of history, but you'll find the answer in The Knowledge Web, another of science historian James Burke's compelling collections of circular narratives that have informed and inspired astute readers for years. Best known for his outstanding documentary series Connections, Burke has a genius for unraveling complex threads of history and sharing with us the remarkable coincidences and contingencies that built our modern world. In The Knowledge Web he shows us how the rapid flow of information engenders greater possibilities for the kinds of chance meetings that drive progress.

Burke uses a very neat trick that both demonstrates the potential of hypertext and makes a more pleasurable reading experience. When mentioning certain key figures or events, he includes a footnote that points the reader not to the bottom of the page or the end of the book, but to another point in the text where the figure or event comes into play again. Many other writers would find this impossible to pull off, but Burke's style is perfectly suited for these jumps; if anything, his major theme of interconnectedness is driven home in a fresh new way. Whether or not you're a fan of Burke's unique style, The Knowledge Web will delight and amaze you with its visions of the delicacy of history and the many paths the past must take to reach the future. --Rob Lightner

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