Further Reading by Chapter

This webpage is a reproduction of the Further Reading section of the book, with each recommendation provided as a link for you to obtain the reference if you are interested.


A small selection of books discussing the historical development of science and technology have proved absolutely indispensable through many of the chapters of this book, and I would recommend these as excellent texts for reading around the themes of The Knowledge:

W. Brian. Arthur, The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves
George Basalla, The Evolution of Technology
Peter J. Bowler and Iwan Rhys Moru, Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey
Thomas Crump, A Brief History of Science: As seen throughout he development of scientific instruments
Patricia Fara, Science: A Four Thousand Year History
John Gribbin, Science: A History 1543-2001
John Henry, The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science
Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation discovered the beauty and terror of science
Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress
Abbott Payson Usher, A History of Mechanical Inventions

I have also provided below a list of a few of the most relevant sources for the general subject matter of each chapter of the book, as well as the references for specific points. Navigate straight to a particular chapter with the jump-list below, or scroll down.

1. The End of the World as we Know it
2. The Grace Period
3. Agriculture
4. Food and Clothing
5. Substances
6. Materials
7. Medicine
8. Power to the People
9. Transport
10. Communication
11. Advanced Chemistry
12. Time and Place
13. The Greatest Invention


Joseph Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies
Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Chose to Fail or Survive
Nick Bostrom and Milan Cirkovic (eds.), Global Catastrophic Risks
John Greer, The Long Descent
Debora MacKenzie, Why the demise of civilisation may be inevitable
Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Can a collapse of global civilisation be avoided?
Jeffrey Nekola, et al., The Malthusian Darwinian dynamic and the trajectory of civilization
Glenn Schwartz and John Nichols (eds.), After Collapse: The Regeneration of Complex Societies
Bob Holmes, Starting over: Rebuilding civilisation from scratch

I, Pencil: Read (1958). Also see Ashton (2013) ‘What Coke Contains.’
technological regression in Moldova: Connolly (2001)
the Toaster Project: Thwaites (2011)
A Book for All Seasons: Lovelock (1998). Also see the rebuttal to Lovelock’s proposal in Greer (2006) ‘How Not To Save Science’, as well as more recent proposals for collating and preserving crucial knowledge in Kelly (2006), Raford (2009), Rose (2010) and Kelly (2011), and the humorous essential T-shirt for time travellers at www.topatoco.com/bestshirtever
the encyclopedia as a safe repository of human knowledge: Yeo (2001)
Apollo programme: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/Apollo.html
100 million man-hours devoted to Wikipedia: Shirky (2010)
Richard Feynman quote: The Feynman Lectures on Physics (1964), 1. Atoms in Motion, now available free at http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu
‘These fragments I have shored against my ruins': T.S Eliot, The Waste Land, 1922
fantasy of starting from scratch: In addition to the novels Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson already mentioned, a number of other fiction books explore the theme of using crucial knowledge to start-over. These include Mark Twain’s 1889 novel of an accidental time-traveller Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, H. G. Wells’s 1895 novel The Time Machine, and S.M. Stirling’s Island in the Sea of Time (1998) about an entire modern community transported back to the Bronze Age.
wheelbarrow: Mokyr (1990), Fara (2009)
leapfrogging: Davison (2000), Economist (2006), Economist (2008a,b), McDermott (2010)
Japan leapfrogging: Mason (1997)
Intermediate or Appropriate Technology: Rybczynski (1980), Carr (1985)
repurposing: Edgerton (2007)


Chapter 1 – The End of the World as we Know it

Bruce D. Clayton, Life After Doomsday: Survivalist Guide to Nuclear War and Other Major Disasters
Aton Edwards, Preparedness Now! (An Emergency Survival Guide)
Dan Martin, Apocalypse: How to Survive a Global Crisis
James Wesley Rawles, How to Survive The End Of The World As We Know It: Tactics, Techniques And Technologies For Uncertain Times
Matthew R. Stein, When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability and Surviving the Long Emergency
Neil Strauss, Emergency: One Man’s Story of a Dangerous World and How to Stay Alive in it
United States Army, Survival (Field Manual 3-05.70)
John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman, SAS Survival Handbook: The ultimate guide to surviving anywhere
Laura Spinney, Return to paradise – If the people flee, what will happen to the seemingly indestructible?
Alan Weisman, The World Without Us
Jan Zalasiewicz, The Earth After Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave in the Rocks?
(I should, however, urge caution as not all that is contained in some of the post-apocalyptic survival guides listed above is good advice, particularly in the medical sections.)

the Black Death and its social ramifications: Sherman (2006), Martin (2007)
‘I Am Legend’ scenario: Richard Matheson, I Am Legend,  1954
the theoretical minimum needed for repopulation: Murray-McIntosh (1998), Hey (2005)
recolonisation by nature and decay of the cities:
Spinney (1996), Weisman (2008), Zalasiewicz (2008)
the post-apocalyptic climate: Stern (2006), Vuuren (2008), Solomon (2009), Cowie (2013)


Chapter 2 – The Grace Period

Godfrey Boyle and Peter Harper, Radical Technology
Jim Leckie et al., More Other Homes and Garbage: Designs for Self-sufficient Living
Alexis Madrigal, Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology
Nick Rosen, How to Live Off-grid
John Seymour, The New Complete Book of Self-sufficiency
Dick and James Strawbridge, Practical Self Sufficiency
Jon Vogler, Work from Waste: Recycling Waste to Create Employment

prepping and survival during a major crisis: Clayton (1980), Edwards (2009), Martin (2011), Rawles (2009), Stein (2009), Strauss (2009), United States Army (2002)
water purification: Huisman (1974), VITA (1977), Conant (2005)
UK national food reserve: DEFRA (2010), DEFRA (2012)
degrading GPS accuracy: pers. comm. USCG Navigation Center
how long a stash of medications would last before they expire:
Cohen (2000), Pomerantz (2004)
off-grid electricity: Leckie (1981), Rosen (2007), Madrigal (2011), Clews (1973)
Goražde jury-rigged hydropower: Sacco (2000)
rudimentary plastic recycling: Vogler (1984)


Chapter 3 – Agriculture

Mauro Ambrosoli, The Wild and the Sown: Botany and Agriculture in Western Europe, 1350-1850
Percy Blandford, Old Farm Tools and Machinery: An Illustrated History
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Food: A History
John Seymour, The New Complete Book of Self-sufficiency
Tom Standage, An Edible History of Humanity

soil composition: Stern (1979), Wood (1981)
farm tools: Blandford (1976), FAO (1976), Hurt (1985)
harnessing oxen to a plough: Starkey (1985)
‘humanity subsists, either directly or indirectly, by eating grass’: The potential consequences of this are explored brilliantly in John Christopher’s novel The Death of Grass, in which the agent of doomsday is not a virus that infects humanity, but a plant pathogen wiping out grass species.
cereals: FAO (1977)
Composting: Gotaas (1976), Dalzell (1981), Shuval (1981), Decker (2010a)
biogas: House (1978), Goodall (2008), Strawbridge (2010)
honey-sucker trucks in Bangalore: Pearce (2013)
Dillo Dirt: http://austintexas.gov/dillodirt
superphosphate fertiliser factories in London: Weisman (2007)
Canadian potash: Mokyr (1990)
food production trap: Standage (2010)


Chapter 4 – Food and Clothing

Agromisa Foundation, Preservation of Foods
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Food: A History
Michael Pollan, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
John Seymour, The New Complete Book of Self-sufficiency
Tom Standage, An Edible History of Humanity
Carol Hupping Stoner, Stocking Up: How to Preserve the Foods you Grow Naturally
Joan Koster, Handloom Construction: A Practical Guide for the Non-Expert
Abbott Payson Usher, A History of Mechanical Inventions

food preservation: Agromisa Foundation (1990), The British Nutrition Foundation (1999), Stoner (1973)
jury-rigged smokehouse: Stoner (1973)
nixtamalisation: Fernandez-Armesto (2001)
preparation of cereals: UNIFEM (1988)
preparing a sourdough: Avery (2001a,b), Lang (2003)
Mongolian sill: Sella (2012)
Zeer pot: Löfström (2011)
Einstein’s refrigerator: Silverman (2001), Jha (2008)
compressor and absorber designs of refrigerator: Cowan (1985), Bell (2011)
wool spinning: Wigginton (1973)
simple weaving: Koster (1979)
the button: Mokyr (1990), Mortimer (2008)
mechanisation of spinning and weaving: Usher (1982), Mokyr (1990), Allen (2009)


Chapter 5 – Substances

William B. Dick, Dick’s Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Processes
Kevin Dunn, Caveman Chemistry: 28 Projects, from the Creation of Fire to the Production of Plastics
Alan Dalton, Chemicals from Biological Resources

thermal energy through history: Decker (2011)
importance of coke in Industrial Revolution: Allen (2009)
coppicing firewood: Stanford (1976)
charcoal: Goodall (2008)
Brazilian charcoal for steel-production: Kato (2005)
reserve technologies: Edgerton (2008)
lime-burning: Wingate (1985)
hand-washing and reduction of gastrointestinal diseases:
Bloomfield (2009)
the importance of alkalis throughout history: Deighton (1907), Reilly (1951)
wood pyrolysis: Dumesny (1908), Dalton (1973), Boyle (1976), McClure (2000)
acetone shortage in World War I: David (2012)
sulphuric acid: McKee (1924), Karpenko (2002)


Chapter 6 – Materials

Kevin M. Dunn, Caveman Chemistry: 28 Projects, from the Creation of Fire to the Production of Plastics
Albert Jackson and David Day. Tools and How to Use Them: An Illustrated Encvclopedia
Carl G. Johnson and William R. Weeks, Metallurgy
Richard Shelton Kirby, Engineering in History

wood: Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (1974)
basic construction techniques: Leckie (1981), Stern (1983), Lengen (2008)
Roman pozzolana cement: Oleson (2008)
reinforced concrete: Stern (1983)
iron-working:   Weygers (1974)Winden (1990)
hardening and tempering tools: Gentry (1980)
making and using tools: Weygers (1973), Jackson (1978)
oxyacetylene torch: Parkin (1969)
arc welding: The Lincoln Electric Company (1973)
small-scale foundry and metal casting: Aspin (1975)
boot-strapping a complete metal-working shop: Gingery (2000a,b,c,d,e)
Chinese blast furnace: Mokyr (1990)
iron-smelting: Allen (2009), Johnson (1977)
Bessemer process: Mokyr (1990)
glass-making: Whitby (1983)
lead-crystal glass: MacLeod (1987)
central role of glass in science: Macfarlane (2002)


Chapter 7 – Medicine

David Werner, Where There Is No Doctor
Murray Dickson, Where There Is No Dentist
Roy Porter, Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine
Anne Rooney, The Story of Medicine

diseases from animals: Porter (2002), Rooney (2009)
importance of sanitation: Solomon (2011), Conant (2005), Mann (1982)
cholera: Clark (2010)
Oral Rehydration Therapy: Conant (2005)
obstetric forceps kept a secret: Porter (2002)
car-parts incubator: Johnson (2010), http://designthatmatters.org/portfolio/projects/incubator/
serendipitous discovery of X-rays: Gribbin (2002), Osman (2011), Kean (2010)
willow bark and aspirin: Mokyr (1990), Pollard (2010)
scurvy and the first clinical trial: Osman (2011)
principles of surgery: Cook (1988)
anaesthesics: Dobson (1988)
nitrous oxide: Gribbin (2002), Holmes (2008)
instructions for rudimentary microscope: Casselman (2011)
Leeuwenhoek: Macfarlane (2002), Crump (2001), Gribbin, (2002), Sherman (2006)
Marcus Terentius Varro: Rooney (2009)
serendipitous discovery of antibiotics: Lax (2005), Kelly (2010), Winston (2010), Pollard (2010)
extraction and mass-production of penicillin: Lax (2005)
antibiotic resistance in post-apocalyptic world: Clark (2010)


Chapter 8 – Power to the People

Godfrey Boyle and Peter Harper, Radical Technology
Alexis Madrigal, Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology
Abbott Payson Usher, A History of Mechanical Inventions

Roman water wheel: Usher (1982), Oleson (2008)
key innovations during the supposedly ‘dark’ medieval era: Fara (2009)
windmills: McGuigan (1978), Mokyr (1990), Hills (1996), Decker (2009)
mechanisms for transforming motion: Hiscox (2007), Brown (2008)
importance of waterwheels and windmills: Basalla (1988)
diverse uses of waterwheels and windmills: Usher (1982), Solomon (2011)
succion pumps: Fraenkel (1997)
steam engine: Usher (1982), Mokyr (1990), Crump (2001), Allen (2009)
voltaic pile: Gribbin (2002)
Baghdad battery: Schlesinger (2010), Osman (2011)
discovery of electromagnetism: Crump (2001), Gribbin (2002), Hamilton (2003)Fara (2009), Schlesinger (2010), Ball (2012)
retrofitting a traditional four-sail windmill: Watson (2005)
Charles Brush’s electricity-generating windmill: Hills (1996), Winston (2010), Krouse (2011)
water turbines: McGuigan (1978), Usher (1982), Holland (1986), Mokyr (1990), Eisenring (1991)


Chapter 9 – Transport

Rudolf Diesel quote: Goodall (2008)
bioethanol: Solar Energy Research Institute (1980), Goodall (2008)
biodiesel: Rosen (2007), Strawbridge (2010)
gas bag vehicles: House (1978), Decker (2011b)
wood gasifiers: Decker (2010b), FAO Forestry Department (1986), LaFontaine (1989)
wood-fueled Tiger tanks: Krammer (1978)
guayule: National Academy of Sciences (1977)
harnessing oxen: Starkey (1985)
throat-and-girth harness and horse collar: Mokyr (1990)
peak horse use: Edgerton (2008)
Cuban resurrection of animal traction: Edgerton (2008)
sails: Farndon (2010)
penny farthing and modern safety bicycle: Broers (2005)
the nature of novel technologies and the automobile as a lashing together of pre-existing mechanical solutions: Arthur (2009), Kelly (2010), Mokyr (1990)
internal combustion engine and motor vehicle mechanisms: Bureau of Naval Personnel (1971), Hillier (1981), Usher, (1982)
history of electric cars: Crump (2001), Edgerton (2008), Brooks (2009), Decker (2010c), Madrigal (2011)


Chapter 10 – Communication

J. P. Davidson, Planet Word

history of paper: Mokyr (1990)
chemical liberation of cellulose fibres: Dunn (2003)
paper-making: Vigneault (2007), Seymour (2009)
ink from berries: HowToons (2007)
iron gall ink: Finlay (2002), Fruen (2002), Smith (2009)
social ramifications of printing press: Broers (2005), Farndon (2010)
development of printing press: Usher (1982), Mokyr (1990), Finlay (2002), Johnson (2010)
rudimentary radio transmitters and receivers: Crump (2001), Field (2002)Parker (2006)
Foxhole/POW radios: Wells, Ross (2005), Carusella (2008), and see Gillies (2011) for further ingenuity amongst POWs


Chapter 11 – Advanced Chemistry

Kevin Dunn, Caveman Chemistry: 28 Projects, from the Creation of Fire to the Production of Plastics
Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon: and other true tales from the Periodic Table
Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress

electrolysis of water: Abdel-Aal (2010)
aluminium: Johnson (1977), Kean (2010)
electrolysis and discovery of new elements: Gribbin (2002), Holmes (2008)
periodic table: Fara (2009), Kean (2010)
black powder as elixir for immortality: Winston (2010)
nitroglycerine and dynamite: Mokyr (1990)
applications of photography: Gribbin (2002), Osman (2011)
rudimentary photography: Sutton (1986), Ware (1997), Crump (2001), Ware (2002), Ware (2004)
industrial chemistry: Mokyr (1990)
demand for soda: Deighton (1907), Reilly (1951)
Leblanc process, early industrial pollution, Solvay processes: Deighton (1907), Reilly (1951), Mokyr (1990)
William Crokes quote: Standage (2010)
nitrogen gas is the least reactive diatomic substance: Schrock (2006)
Haber process: Standage (2010), Kean (2010), Perkins (1977), Edgerton (2008)


Chapter 12 – Time and Place

Adam Frank, About Time
Eric Bruton, The History of Clocks & Watches
Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

constancy of sand time compared to water clock: Bruton (2000)
Manhattan as a city-sized Stonehenge: Astronomy Picture of the Day, 12 July 2006 http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap060712.html
sundials: Oleson (2008)
mechanical clocks: Usher (1982), Bruton (2000), Gribbin (2002), Frank (2011)
60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours: Crump (2001), Frank (2011)
“o’clock”: Mortimer (2008)
first appearance of Sirius: Schaefer (2000)
resurrect the Gregorian calendar: see Pappas (2011) for one proposal for reformatting the year into a different structure of months
navigation before accurate clocks by sailing along line of latitude: Usher (1982)
solving the longitude problem: Sobel (1996)
spring-based clocks: Usher (1982), Bruton (2000)
22 chronometers aboard HMS Beagle: Sobel (1996)


Chapter 13 – The Greatest Invention

nothing inevitable about technological progress and history of China: Mokyr (1990)
Industrial Revolution in eighteenth-century Britain: Allen (2009)
metric system and why UK and USA did not adopt it: Crump (2001)
invention of barometer and thermometer: Crump (2001), Chang (2004)
the scientific revolution and how science is done: Shapin (1996), Kuhn (1996), Bowler (2005), Henry (2008), Ball (2012)
symbiosis between science and technology: Basalla (1988), Mokyr (1990), Bowler (2005), Arthur (2009), Johnson (2010)