While the story of the big has often been told, the story of the small has not yet even been outlined. With Dust, Joseph Amato enthralls the reader with the first history of the small and the invisible. Dust is a poetic meditation on how dust has been experienced and the small has been imagined across the ages. Examining a thousand years of Western civilization—from the naWhile the story of the big has often been told, the story of the small has not yet even been outlined. With Dust, Joseph Amato enthralls the reader with the first history of the small and the invisible. Dust is a poetic meditation on how dust has been experienced and the small has been imagined across the ages. Examining a thousand years of Western civilization—from the naturalism of medieval philosophy, to the artistry of the Renaissance, to the scientific and industrial revolutions, to the modern worlds of nanotechnology and viral diseases—Dust offers a savvy story of the genesis of the microcosm.Dust, which fills the deepest recesses of space, pervades all earthly things. Throughout the ages it has been the smallest yet the most common element of everyday life. Of all small things, dust has been the most minute particulate the eye sees and the hand touches. Indeed, until this century, dust was simply accepted as a fundamental condition of life; like darkness, it marked the boundary between the seen and the unseen.With the full advent of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and social control, dust has been partitioned, dissected, manipulated, and even invented. In place of traditional and generic dust, a highly diverse particulate has been discovered and examined. Like so much else that was once considered minute, dust has been magnified by the twentieth-century transformations of our conception of the small. These transformations—which took form in the laboratory through images of atoms, molecules, cells, and microbes—defined anew not only dust and the physical world but also the human body and mind. Amato dazzles the reader with his account of how this powerful microcosm challenges the imagination to grasp the magnitude of the small, and the infinity of the finite.Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction Book of 2000...
|Title||:||Dust: A History of the Small and the Invisible|
|Number of Pages||:||262 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Dust: A History of the Small and the Invisible Reviews
The title doesn't give an accurate view of this book, which should be called a conversation about germ theory, microscopes, cleaning, lighting, electricity, nature, and the unseen. *curious fact from book - set your water heater at 130 degrees to prevent Legionnaire's disease. * quote from book - "Ordinary people, who speak with only rudimentary knowledge of atoms, cells, and computer chips, learn to talk and pray - at least in part - in the language these experts furnish."
Amato writes almost nothing about dust itself, rather, his book is a treatise on "the small and invisible," with generally one constantly repeated thesis: that the advents of magnification and technology transformed our perception of "dust" (in Amato's case, dust is a synonym for filth and germs) from an invisible and at times mystical layer of reality to a nuisance that must be hygienized. Read this book for a handful of iterations on this thesis. An enormous disappointment. Reads like a television show.
It was a pretty good read, but too essayish for my tastes - I enjoyed how the facts were researched and presented, and got a pretty startling feel for the power that dust has had over our lives in times past. Still, it reminded me too much of the kind of overacademic writing I swore to get away from after grad school. Any contemporary book that uses the word "contrariwise" with a straight face deserves what it gets.
Perhaps I was expecting more. Amato seems to spend so much time on metaphors, analogies, and other circuitous was of talking about dirt that, I, the reader, beg him to provide more of the promised details of how dust has been ingrained into our lives for centuries. Dust gets off too easy and, instead, provides more of a platform for entertaining but unfulfilling musings.
This book takes a look at small particles as perceived by Western man through the ages, from early times to the present. I found the historical aspect the most interesting. While I didn't learn anything I didn't already know, I found this light read interesting enough. 3.5-4 stars.
This proved to be interesting in exploring the concept of small throughout history. Gave new understanding to something that we all take for granted. The worst part is convincing people that the book is actually interesting to read and not as dry as "dust".
The most promising book I've picked up since that one on clouds...
makes you appreciate the miniscule!