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Connections Paperback – Jul 3 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (July 3 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743299558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743299558
  • Product Dimensions: 25.2 x 18.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 998 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
History has the tendency of being seen as static and frozen when we view it from a a later time. What happened is what happened, and nothing else could have happened because, again, at that point, it is set in stone. Once upon a time, however, history could have gone any number of ways, and much of the time, it’s the act of change and transition that help drive history through various eras.

James Burke is one of my favorite historical authors, and I am a big fan of his ideas behind “Connected thought and events”, which makes the case that history is not a series of isolated events, but that events and discoveries coming from previous generations (an even eras) can give rise to new ideas and modes of thinking. In other words, change doesn’t happen in a vacuum, or in the mind of a single solitary genius. Instead it’s the actions and follow-on achievements by a variety of people throughout history that make certain changes in our world possible (from the weaving of silk to the personal computer, or the stirrup to the atomic bomb).

“Connections" is the companion book to the classic BBC series first filmed in the late 70s, with additional series being created up into the 1990s. If you haven’t already seen the Connections series of programs, please do, they are highly entertaining and engaging. The original print edition of the book had been out of print for some time, but I was overjoyed to discover that there is a paperback version as well as a Kindle edition of this book. The kindle version is the one I am basing the review on.

The subtitle of the book and series is "an Alternative View of Change”.
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By Andrew Lee on March 14 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Burke has this uncanny way of making the entire world make sense. The way that he has connected world events to historical inventions is absolutely incredible.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I have to say that I like the premise behind the book: seemingly random events leading up to a coherent pattern of invention and innovation. I also appreciate all the implications this has for long-term conscious planning by governments and individuals. However, I think that Burke understates the role of great geniuses in scientific and technological history. Not everything we have is primarily due to remote connections. I think that "The Day the Universe Changed" is a better written and more interesting book. This one, however, is also worth reading.
The first part of the book about interconnectedness and mutual dependence for survival in the modern industrial society should be required reading for all types of back-to-nature, anti-technology, sustainable-development eco feminists. It shows that we are not at liberty to simply adopt a Rousseau-esque, crab-like movement back into "natural," pre-industrial world. So for this reason alone, the book is worth the price you pay for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric B. on March 24 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
As a teacher, I am always in search of ways to make academics relevant to the real world. Student engagement is always increased when the lesson reminds them of something familiar. I was eager to read Connections in order to teach me about how to make history connect to everyday life. In Connections, James Burke attempts to demonstrate three phenomena: seemingly inconsequential events can lead to major innovations, inventions lead to new discoveries, and technological advancements have had profound effects throughout history on people and society. While Burke does make a valiant effort to make these "connections" between the discoveries of everyday people and/or scientists with inventions such as the loom, printing press, coinage, clock, etc., he spends more time discussing the nature of the inventions themselves, rather than the connections between them. I would have liked more commentary on the coincidences and circumstances of the discoveries and less information about how the invention works and functions. Burke was very successful at illustrating the broad impacts of numerous technologies throughout history. The inventions which he describes such as the plow and compass had fascinating impacts on the way society developed. I believe that these connections would be very interesting to my students by demonstrating how history effects our lives. My primary criticism of this book lies in Burke's style and scope. His writing is incredibly dense with numerous names, dates, and specifics. The information is overwhelming and not clearly focused. The chapters seem poorly organized and without a defined, recognizable theme. More explanation and commentary by Burke himself rather than dry, dense information would have been useful.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Maybe it's me, but I found of the three media used by James Buirke to present his lessons, the printed word worked best. The illustrations actually illustrate ( unlike the video Connections 2 series ) and the text is easier to follow than in the audio discs which outline the same approach to science development.
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