The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World

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The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World
Title The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World
Author
Publisher Basic Books
Release DateNovember 10, 2020
Category History
Total Pages 320 pages
ISBN 1541617606
Book Rating 4.7 out of 5 from 19 reviews
Language EN, ES, BE, DA ,DE , NL and FR
Book Review & Summary:

From Paleolithic flax to 3D knitting, explore the global history of textiles and the world they weave together in this enthralling and educational guide. The story of humanity is the story of textiles -- as old as civilization itself. Since the first thread was spun, the need for textiles has driven technology, business, politics, and culture. In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics, and science to reveal a surprising history. From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo's David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code. Assiduously researched and deftly narrated, The Fabric of Civilization tells the story of the world's most influential commodity.

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Release Date 2020-11-10
Category History
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From Paleolithic flax to 3D knitting, explore the global history of textiles and the world they weave together in this enthralling and educational guide. The story of humanity is the story of textiles -- as old as civilization itself. Since the first thread was spun, the need for textiles has driven technology, business, politics, and culture. In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics, and science to reveal a surprising history. From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo's David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code. Assiduously researched and deftly narrated, The Fabric of Civilization tells the story of the world's most influential commodity.

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From Paleolithic flax to 3D knitting, explore the global history of textiles and the world they weave together in this enthralling and educational guide. The story of humanity is the story of textiles -- as old as civilization itself. Since the first thread was spun, the need for textiles has driven technology, business, politics, and culture. In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics, and science to reveal a surprising history. From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo's David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code. Assiduously researched and deftly narrated, The Fabric of Civilization tells the story of the world's most influential commodity.

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Book Summary:

From Paleolithic flax to 3D knitting, explore the global history of textiles and the world they weave together in this enthralling and educational guide.The story of humanity is the story of textiles -- as old as civilization itself. Since the first thread was spun, the need for textiles has driven technology, business, politics, and culture.In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics, and science to reveal a surprising history. From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo's David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code.Assiduously researched and deftly narrated, The Fabric of Civilization tells the story of the world's most influential commodity.

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"A fascinating history of…[a craft] that preceded and made possible civilization itself." —New York Times Book Review New discoveries about the textile arts reveal women's unexpectedly influential role in ancient societies. Twenty thousand years ago, women were making and wearing the first clothing created from spun fibers. In fact, right up to the Industrial Revolution the fiber arts were an enormous economic force, belonging primarily to women. Despite the great toil required in making cloth and clothing, most books on ancient history and economics have no information on them. Much of this gap results from the extreme perishability of what women produced, but it seems clear that until now descriptions of prehistoric and early historic cultures have omitted virtually half the picture. Elizabeth Wayland Barber has drawn from data gathered by the most sophisticated new archaeological methods—methods she herself helped to fashion. In a "brilliantly original book" (Katha Pollitt, Washington Post Book World), she argues that women were a powerful economic force in the ancient world, with their own industry: fabric.

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Growing awareness of environmental issues has led to increasing demand for goods produced from natural products, including natural fibres. The two-volume Handbook of natural fibres is an indispensible tool in understanding the diverse properties and applications of these important materials. Volume 1: Types, properties and factors affecting breeding and cultivation is an essential guide to a wide range of natural fibres, and highlights key techniques for their improvement. Part one reviews key types and fundamental properties of natural textile fibres. The production, identification and testing of a range of cotton, bast, silk and wool fibres are discussed, alongside bioengineered natural textile fibres. Part two goes on to explore the improvement of natural fibre properties and production through breeding and cultivation, beginning with a discussion of fibrous flax and cotton. Improved natural fibre production through the prevention of fungal growth is explored, along with the use of genetic engineering and biotechnology to enhance desirable characteristics. Finally, the wider impact of natural textile production is discussed, using wild silk enterprise programs as an example. With its distinguished editor and international team of expert contributors, the two volumes of the Handbook of natural fibres are essential texts for professionals and academics in textile science and technology. Provides an essential guide to a wide range of natural fibres and highlights key techniques for their improvement Reviews key types and fundamental properties of natural textile fibres, addressing the production, identification and testing of a range of cotton, bast, silk and wool fibres Explores the improvement of natural fibre properties and production through breeding and cultivation, beginning with a discussion of fibrous flax and cotton

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The first comprehensive history of felines—from the laps of pagan gods to present-day status as meme stars—as revealed by a very learned tabby with a knack for hunting down facts Since the dawn of civilization, felines have prowled alongside mankind as they expanded their territory and spread the myth of human greatness. And today, cats are peddled on social media as silly creatures here to amuse humans with their antics. But this is an absurd, self-centered fantasy. The true history of felines is one of heroism, love, tragedy, sacrifice, and gravitas. Not entirely convinced? Well, get ready, because Baba the Cat is here to set the record straight. Spanning almost every continent and thousands—yes, thousands—of years, Baba’s complex story of feline survival presents readers with a diverse cast of cats long forgotten: from her prehistoric feline ancestors and the ancient Egyptian cat goddess Bastet to the daring mariners at the height of oceanic discovery, key intellectuals in the Enlightenment period, revered heroes from World Wars I and II, and the infamous American tabbies. Baba, a talented model in addition to a scholar, goes beyond surface-level scratches, pairing her freshly unearthed research with a series of stunning costume portraits to bring history to life. A paws-on journey through the feline hall of fame, with in-depth research and four-legged testaments that will make you rethink who defines history, A Cat’s Tale: A Journey Through Feline History—a revealed to Paul Koudounaris—is a one-of-a-kind chronicle that introduces readers to the illustrious ancestors of their closest companions and shows, once and for all, that cats know exactly what they’re doing.

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From the bestselling author of The Ascent of Money and The Square and the Tower Western civilization’s rise to global dominance is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five centuries. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed? Acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson argues that beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts, or “killer applications”—competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic—that the Rest lacked, allowing it to surge past all other competitors. Yet now, Ferguson shows how the Rest have downloaded the killer apps the West once monopolized, while the West has literally lost faith in itself. Chronicling the rise and fall of empires alongside clashes (and fusions) of civilizations, Civilization: The West and the Rest recasts world history with force and wit. Boldly argued and teeming with memorable characters, this is Ferguson at his very best.

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Author Virginia Postrel
Publisher Harper Collins
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Category Social Science
Total Pages 272
ISBN 0061852864
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Whether it's sleek leather pants, a shiny new Apple computer, or a designer toaster, we make important decisions as consumers every day based on our sensory experience. Sensory appeals are everywhere, and they are intensifying, radically changing how Americans live and work. The twenty-first century has become the age of aesthetics, and whether we realize it or not, this influence has taken over the marketplace, and much more. In this penetrating, keenly observed book, Virginia Postrel makes the argument that appearance counts, that aesthetic value is real. Drawing from fields as diverse as fashion, real estate, politics, design, and economics, Postrel deftly chronicles our culture's aesthetic imperative and argues persuasively that it is a vital component of a healthy, forward-looking society. Intelligent, incisive, and thought-provoking, The Substance of Style is a groundbreaking portrait of the democratization of taste and a brilliant examination of the way we live now.

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Author Sven Beckert
Publisher Vintage
Release Date 2015-11-10
Category History
Total Pages 640
ISBN 9780375713965
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

"The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality in the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Sven Beckert's rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world's most significant manufacturing industry combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in 1780, these men created a potent innovation (Beckert calls it war capitalism, capitalism based on unrestrained actions of private individuals; the domination of masters over slaves, of colonial capitalists over indigenous inhabitants), and crucially affected the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia. We see how this thing called war capitalism shaped the rise of cotton, and then was used as a lever to transform the world. The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, farmers and merchants, workers and factory owners. In this as in so many other ways, Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the modern world. The result is a book as unsettling and disturbing as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist"--Résumé de l'éditeur.

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Title The Future and Its Enemies
Author Virginia Postrel
Publisher Simon and Schuster
Release Date 2011-05-10
Category Social Science
Total Pages 288
ISBN 1439135320
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Today we have greater wealth, health, opportunity, and choice than at any time in history. Yet a chorus of intellectuals and politicians laments our current condition -- as slaves to technology, coarsened by popular culture, and insecure in the face of economic change. The future, they tell us, is dangerously out of control, and unless we precisely govern the forces of change, we risk disaster. In The Future and Its Enemies, Virginia Postrel explodes the myths behind these claims. Using examples that range from medicine to fashion, she explores how progress truly occurs and demonstrates that human betterment depends not on conformity to one central vision but on creativity and decentralized, open-ended trial and error. She argues that these two opposing world-views -- "stasis" vs. "dynamism" -- are replacing "left" and "right" to define our cultural and political debate as we enter the next century. In this bold exploration of how civilizations learn, Postrel heralds a fundamental shift in the way we view politics, culture, technology, and society as we face an unknown -- and invigorating -- future.

Interwoven Globe by Amelia Peck

Title Interwoven Globe
Author Amelia Peck
Publisher Metropolitan Museum of Art
Release Date 2013
Category Exoticism in art
Total Pages 350
ISBN 9781588394965
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

A global exploration of textile design and its far-reaching influence on aesthetics, commerce, and taste

The Textile Book by Colin Gale

Title The Textile Book
Author Colin Gale
Publisher Bloomsbury USA Academic
Release Date 2002-05
Category Design
Total Pages 205
ISBN UOM:39015056215224
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Woven, printed, embroidered, knitted -- textiles are pivotal to the everyday experience of people in all parts of the world. This wide-ranging and informative book conveys the excitement and new challenges textiles represent and is essential reading for anyone working with, studying or simply interested in textiles. Taking as their starting point the very meaning of textiles, Gale and Kaur go on to demonstrate the astonishing range of opportunities for careers in the field, from the creative (artists, craftspeople and designers) to the social and industrial, to the commercial and associated practices (buyers, journalists, researchers and scientists). The Textile Book takes us behind the scenes with professionals to reveal what various jobs involve, what influences decision makers, and how their decisions affect what we buy next season. What happens to clothes before they reach the shops? What determines the 'must have' item? How can recycled bottles be transformed into silk-like yarns? These and many other questions are explored to show the diversity that makes up the contemporary global textile scene.

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