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Books by Andrew Robinson

  • India

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: BYJCQ
    Paperback
    India has had many histories. To pilgrims from ancient China, India was the birthplace of the Buddha; to Alexander the Great it was a land of clever naked philosophers and indomitable, elephantine armies. At the height of the Mughal empire, India boasted nearly a quarter of the world economy, and even under colonial rule it was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. Today it is the resurgent home to one sixth of the global population. Andrew Robinson incisively distills India's many incarnations, from the remarkably advanced cities of the early Indus Valley to the world's largest democracy. Anyone curious about its past, present or future will find this a fascinating introduction.
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  • The Story of Measurement

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: BJYPG
    Hardback
    New from the author of the highly successful "The Story of Writing", here is the first fully illustrated guide to the human passion for measurement - of ourselves, our experiences, our surroundings and the universe - published at a time of great interest in popular science titles. Answering many of the questions of everyday life, and sure to appeal to a broad readership, the book is at once a valuable reference that every home should have, an important work that catalogues our obsession with quantifying the universe - and a wonderful gift.
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  • The Story of Writing

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: BJPTJ
    Paperback
    Writing is one of humanity's greatest inventions. Without it there would be no history and no civilization as we know it. But how, when and where did writing evolve? In a succinct, absorbing and well-illustrated text, Andrew Robinson discusses the history of decipherment and then each of the major writing systems in turn, from cuneiform and Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs to alphabets and the scripts of China and Japan. An invaluable guide to the worlds major writing systems, "The Story of Writing" is a book to read for both pleasure and enlightenment.
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  • Lost Languages

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: BHLTS
    Paperback
    Whether it's the possibility of hearing the voices of ancient peoples or the puzzle solver's taste for the challenges posed by breaking codes, undeciphered scripts have long tantalized the public. Here, Andrew Robinson investigates the most famous examples, beginning with the stories of three great decipherments: Egyptian hieroglyphs, Maya glyphs, and the Minoan Linear B clay tablets.He then tackles the important scripts that have yet to be cracked. Perhaps the greatest challenge is the Indus script, the onl writing of the four "first" civilizations that cannot be read and a potential key to better understanding the impressive Indus Valley civilization. Then there are the Etruscans, builders of sensational tombs and the cultural conduit through whom the Greek alphabet reached Rome and the rest of Europe. Yet the language spoken by the Etruscans remains wrapped in mystery. And on isolated Easter Island, the Rongorongo script, inscribed on wood with sharks' teeth, has long been an irresistible magnet for ambitious scholars.The struggle to decipher these three scripts and six others--including the Phaistos disc of Crete and the Zapotec script of Mexico--is recounted with extraordinary depth and erudition in this wonderfully illustrated book. Lost Languages is an archaeological and linguistic detective story that will appeal to anyone interested in ancient peoples and the intricacies of language.Andrew Robinson's many books include The Story of Writing.
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  • The Man Who Deciphered Linear B

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: BDNVV
    Paperback
    Linear B is Europe's oldest readable writing, dating from the middle of the second millennium BC. This book, newly available in paperback, tells the life story of Michael Ventris, interlaced with that of his decipherment of Linear B. First discovered in 1900, on clay tablets among the ruins of the Palace of Minos at Knossos, Crete, it remained a mystery for over fifty years until 1952, when Michael Ventris discovered that its signs did not represent an unknown language as previously believed, but an archaic dialect of Greek, more than 500 years older than the Greek of Homer. Dubbed the Everest of archaeology, the decipherment was all the more remarkable because Ventris was not a trained classical scholar but an architect by profession, who had first heard of Linear B as a schoolboy. An initial fascination became a lifelong obsession for this intriguing and contradictory man, a gifted linguist but a divided soul. "Excellent: well researched and clearly presented compelling reading". ("The Times Literary Supplement"). "Excellent, Robinson understands how to make the complexities of pictograms clear to the non-expert. The book gives many examples, and would appeal to anyone interested in crosswords, codes and cyphers, but it also tells a fascinating human story". ("The Independent"). "A wonderfully swift and clear biography, written for the nonspecialist". ("The Economist"). "A superb biography of Michael Ventris, combining a warm account of his life with just enough technical details to satisfy those who have knowledge of linguistics or indeed of the classics. It is a splendid read, and a fine memorial to the split personality that enabled Ventris to decipher Minoan Linear B so triumphantly. ("Current World Archaeology").
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  • Earth-Shattering Events

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: ASYIH
    Hardback
    "A truly welcome and refreshing study that puts earthquake impact on history into a proper perspective" --Amos Nur, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, Stanford University, California, and author of Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology, and the Wrath of God. Since antiquity, on every continent, human beings in search of attractive landscapes and economic prosperity have made a Faustian bargain with the risk of devastation by an earthquake. Today, around half of the world's largest cities - as many as sixty - lie in areas of major seismic activity. Many, such as Lisbon, Naples, San Francisco, Tehran and Tokyo, have been severely damaged or destroyed by earthquakes in the past. But throughout history, starting with ancient Jericho, Rome and Sparta, cities have proved to be extraordinarily resilient: only one, Port Royal in the Caribbean, was abandoned after an earthquake. Earth-Shattering Events seeks to understand exactly how humans and earthquakes have interacted, not only in the short term but also in the long perspective of history. In some cases, physical devastation has been followed by decline. But in others, the political and economic reverberations of earthquake disasters have presented opportunities for renewal. After its wholesale destruction in 1906, San Francisco went on to flourish, eventually giving birth to the high-tech industrial area on the San Andreas fault known as Silicon Valley. An earthquake in Caracas in 1812 triggered the creation of new nations in the liberation of South America from Spanish rule. Another in Tangshan in 1976 catalysed the transformation of China into the world's second largest economy. The growth of the scientific study of earthquakes is woven into this far-reaching history. It began with a series of earthquakes in England in 1750. Today, seismologists can monitor the vibration of the planet second by second and the movement of tectonic plates millimetre by millimetre. Yet, even in the 21st century, great earthquakes are still essentially 'acts of God', striking with much less warning than volcanoes, floods, hurricanes and even tornadoes and tsunamis.
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  • The Indus

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: APKPB
    Hardback
    When Alexander the Great's army invaded the valley of the Indus River in the fourth century BC, it was wholly unaware that this region of northwest India had once been the centre of a civilization worthy of comparison with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Indus civilization flourished for half a millennia from about 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE, when it mysteriously declined and eventually vanished. It remained invisible for almost 4,000 years, until its ruins were discovered in the 1920s by British and Indian archaeologists. Today, after almost a century of excavation, it is regarded as the beginning of Indian civilization and possibly the origin of Hinduism.More than 1,000 Indus settlements covered at least 800,000 square kilometres of what is now Pakistan and India: the most extensive urban culture of its age, with a vigorous maritime export trade to the Persian Gulf and cities such as Ur. The two largest Indus cities, Harappa and Mohenjo-daro - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - boasted sophisticated street planning and house drainage, including the world's first toilets, along with finely crafted gemstone jewellery and an exquisite, part-pictographic writing system carved on seal stones that has defied numerous attempts at deciphering. Astonishingly, there is no evidence for armies or warfare.The Indus is a fascinating look at the vital legacy of the Indus within modern India and an accessible introduction to this tantalizing 'lost' civilization.
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  • India: A Short History

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: AJGBP
    Hardback
    In ten incisive chapters Andrew Robinson provides a clear focus to each segment of the unfolding story of Indian history, from the remarkable cities of the Indus Valley civilization four millennia ago to the Hindu dynasties, from the Mughal Empire to the British Raj, and from Indian independence to the nations emergence as the worlds largest democracy and one of its fastest growing economies in the modern era.
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  • Writing and Script

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: AHHHM
    Paperback
    Without writing, there would be no records, no history, no books, and no emails. Writing is an integral and essential part of our lives; but when did it start? Why do we all write differently and how did writing develop into what we use today? All of these questions are answered in this Very Short Introduction. Starting with the origins of writing five thousand years ago, with cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, Andrew Robinson explains how these early forms of writing developed into hundreds of scripts including the Roman alphabet and the Chinese characters. He reveals how the modern writing symbols and abbreviations we take for granted today - including airport signage and text messaging - resemble ancient ones much more closely than we might think. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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  • Genius

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: AHHCT
    Paperback
    Homer, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy; Curie, Darwin, Einstein, Galileo, and Newton. What do these world-famous artists and scientists have in common?- apart from the fact that their achievements predate our own time by a century or more. Most of us would probably answer: all ten possessed something we call genius, which in each instance permanently changed the way that humanity perceived the world. But pressed to be more precise, we find it remarkably hard to define genius. Genius is highly individual and unique, of course, yet it shares a compelling, inevitable quality for professionals and the general public alike. Darwin's ideas are still required reading for every working biologist; they continue to generate fresh thinking and experiments around the world. So do Einstein's theories among physicists. Shakespeare's plays and Mozart's melodies and harmonies continue to move people in languages and cultures far removed from their native England and Austria. Contemporary 'geniuses' may come and go, but the idea of genius will not let go of us. Genius is the name we give to a quality of work that transcends fashion, celebrity, fame, and reputation: the opposite of a period piece. Somehow, genius abolishes both the time and the place of its origin. This Very Short Introduction uses the life and work of familiar geniuses-and some less familiar-to illuminate both the individual and the general aspects of genius. In particular: the roles of talent, heredity, parenting, education, training, hard work, intelligence, personality, mental illness, inspiration, eureka moments, and luck, in the making of genius. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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  • The Scientists

    Andrew Robinson

    Product Code: AFDCB
    Hardback
    This book tells the remarkable lives of the pioneers of science from Galileo and Newton, Faraday and Darwin, Pasteur and Marie Curie, to Einstein, Freud, Turing, and Crick and Watson. A series of seventy articles, written by an international team of distinguished scientists, historians of science and science writers, provides an unrivalled account of the lives and personalities behind the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time. Organized thematically, starting at the Universe, and moving smaller through the Earth and Molecules and Matter to Inside the Atom, with the final two sections looking at Life and Body and Mind, it covers all the major scientific disciplines, including astronomy, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computing, ecology, geology, medicine, neurology, physics and psychology, as well as mathematics. "The Scientists" will intrigue budding scientists, those fascinated by the lives of great individuals, and anyone curious to know how over the centuries we came to understand the physical world around us and inside us.
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