The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World

The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World

The Lunar Men Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World In the late s five gifted inventors and amateur scholars in Birmingham England came together for what one of them Erasmus Darwin called a little philosophical laughing They also helped kick s

  • Title: The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World
  • Author: Jenny Uglow
  • ISBN: 9780374528881
  • Page: 211
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the late 1700s, five gifted inventors and amateur scholars in Birmingham, England, came together for what one of them, Erasmus Darwin, called a little philosophical laughing They also helped kick start the industrial revolution, as Jenny Uglow relates in the lively The Lunar Men Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World Their Lunar Society included Joseph PrIn the late 1700s, five gifted inventors and amateur scholars in Birmingham, England, came together for what one of them, Erasmus Darwin, called a little philosophical laughing They also helped kick start the industrial revolution, as Jenny Uglow relates in the lively The Lunar Men Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World Their Lunar Society included Joseph Priestley, the chemist who isolated oxygen James Watt, the Scottish inventor of the steam engine and Josiah Wedgwood, whose manufacture of pottery created the industrial model for the next century Joined by other toymakers and scholarly tinkerers, they concocted schemes for building great canals and harnessing the power of electricity, coined words such as hydrogen and iridescent, shared theories and bank accounts, fended off embezzlers and industrial spies, and forged a fine democracy of knowledge And they had a fine time doing so, proving that scholars need not be dullards or eccentrics asocial Uglow s spirited look at this group of remarkable lunaticks captures a critical, short lived moment of early modern history Readers who share their conviction that knowledge brings power will find this book a rewarding adventure Gregory McNamee

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    128 Comment

    Way too much information for me. Think of a fruit cake, and then pack it even more with fruit and nuts, then do the same thing again, and againw try and eat it! For me it was just too crammed and stodgy.The 18th century was undoubtedly a wonderfully exciting era for science, technology and industry, and although this was conveyed in the writing and illustrations in this book, there was just too much STUFF. I wish the author had trodden more lightly - perhaps written a selection of biographies, r [...]

    The trouble with reviewing books on history is that sometimes it's difficult to separate your interest in the subject from your interest in the book.I came to The Lunar Men because of an interest in Erasmus Darwin - inventor, philosopher, poet, grandfather of Charles Darwin and the man from whom the hero of my own Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow draws his name. He and his fellow luminaries formed an intellectual crucible in a time of intense scientific and political ferment. What I wanted to [...]

    So it took me a month and a half to get through this book, so what? Non-fiction books always take a bit longer to get through, I think because there's so much more content to understand and absorb. Needless to say, I still enjoyed this book and learning about the men of the Lunar Society and the time they lived in. There are so many books and such interest in the 1800s but the 1700s, specifically the late 1700s are just as interesting, if not more interesting, in my opinion.While I enjoyed this [...]

    What was happening in England, during the Georgian period, was dramatic. In two generations, roughly from 1730 to 1800, the country changed from a mainly agricultural nation into an emerging industrial force. The same time, new political ideas and revolutions, transformed the social and political status quo and forged the British Empire, affecting the lives of millions and opening the way to the industrialised age.Within this political and social unrest, a diverse group of men, in Birmingham, ar [...]

    Marvellous book. My goodness me, the outburst of creative genius that defined Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century and on into the nineteenth: is really well served, what with Richard Holmes’ Age of Wonder, and this magnificent piece of work. It offers a biography of the men who formed the Lunar Society, tracing their blossoming, in Birmingham, in the 1750s, to the quiet fading in the 1810s/20s.For my part I was largely ignorant of the second half of the eighteenth century. I t [...]

    History is the 'new black.' History programmes are all over TV these days and very popular too. About time. History books too, seem to fly off the shelves. This one is a corker. The Lunar Society was a group of eighteenth century amateur experimenters and inventors. That's putting it kindly. Heath Robinson comes to mind for some of them. They would meet, in Birmingham, every Monday night nearest to the full moon. But out of this group came some of the greatest inventions that changed the world. [...]

    Way too long and, what a pity one has to overcome the poor, dull and heavy writing style of Jenny Uglow to learn about such men! I would have expected something more exciting and engaging. However, polymaths gifted, passionate, philanthropists and dedicated the Lunar Men were such a remarkable bunch of inventors and intellectuals that, their incredible story deserves to be discovered. So, pick up that book and learn about these geniuses, this small group of friends who changed the world just by [...]

    I really loved this book, though that may show a burgeoning obsession with the Enlightenment as much as the book itself. The men in the Lunar Society around Birmingham, and the people around them, are fascinating and the author does a really good job of telling the stories of their lives. There kept being sentences that would evoke an entire possible side story for me. The author clearly has an extra soft spot for Erasmus Darwin, and so did I by the end of the book. It is 500 pages, so a bit of [...]

    Every time I wanted to skim, I couldn't. This long, rich account of how Natural Philosophy became Science in the second half of the 18th c as told through the remarkably detailed personal account of a circle of extraordinary friends, is as good as any thing I've read on history. As I recently joined the Exploratorium as Director of Development, this book will remain an important touchstone for me of how I can relate to science history and teaching.

    A biography of the estimable group of English scientists (Day, Watt, Wedgewood, Edgeworth, Boulton, Darwin and Priestly among others) who met regularly from the 1750s to 1790s literally by the light of the moon. They were interested in everything- plants, geology, canal building, mineralogy, effect of different gases, steampower- you name it anything of a scientific nature was within their scope. Uglow brings in the politics of the time including the French Revolution which really ended the Luna [...]

    I was really enjoying this book both times I attempted to read it but I've had to call it quits a 100 pages in. Not because of the content, but because of the format. I have the paperback version and the text is TINY!!!! I have always had perfect vision, but sadly age and work are taking its toll. So I knew the text would be a problem when I bought it, but I bought it anyway because I really wanted to read it. But then I stopped. And then I finally caved, got my eyes tested, and got glasses. And [...]

    An outstanding portrait of the Enlightenment in 18th Century England. And an exceptional group of people with vivid interests ranging from sciences, like botany, geology, medicine, physics through literature and political life, all set in a world that changed during their lifetimes from agrarian to industrial, in significant part because of their individual and collective efforts. A well-written portrait of a most interesting time and place.

    This was my very faithful commuting companion, and part of the reason I took so long to read it. It was amazing to read about just how much these men were involved in and about a time where it was alright to be interested in absolutely everything! It was also interesting to read about the Dissenters and the London-Birmingham dynamic, and about all the inventions from soda water to steam engines Busy, busy men.

    I loved this book. It's non fiction "plot is that it is about 8 eighteenth century amateur scientists who used to meet each month on the Monday nearest the full moon. (t's not a werewolf tale, in those days there was no street lighting.)But that doesn't convey the sympathy of approach and fascinating detail of the interconnecting lives of these men who included Josiah Wedgewood, Matthew Boulton and Erasmus Darwin.

    Fantastic non-fiction book - I learnt so much about a part of history that was so deeply influential in the making of the Industrial Revolution. But no dull history text-book is this - it was fun getting to know the Lunar Men. Really want to do a road-trip now to see all the places in the Midlands mentioned!

    Incredibly detailed wide ranging research that weaves effortless together to recreate an exhilarating period in western history. A surge of scientific discovery and practical application that was to lift mankind put of the morass, but which inspired too the anti-intellectual reaction that we are experiencing anew today.

    An amazing and dizzying rendering of information. Though billed as "biography" it is so much more than that-it is the history of a place, or science, and the interconnectedness of great thinkers. Hard to take it all in!

    One of the very best 'portmanteau' historical biographies: not just a lovely story of a fascinating group of scholars and scientists, and their historical and intellectual milieu, but a biography of the very idea of friendship

    I am not sure I can sum up this richly-packed book better than the author does herself. The sheer energy of these people's lives, their breadth of curiosity, is extraordinary: they were dissenters and capitalists, rationalists, scientists and poets. The vitality that they brought to Birmingham, the city I live in, and to the wider worlds of science, industry, commerce and the arts is quite mind-blowing. This is part of the author's own conclusion: "The Lunar group were bourgeois capitalists who [...]

    Marvellous. This "collective biography" is so well researched and written. The main subjects (Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton, James Watt, etc) were larger-than-life characters interested and active in everything from chemistry and botany to poetry, pottery and politics. Jenny Uglow has done a great job of putting their several and joint stories together in a very readable way, all set in the context of the major relevant events of 18th C history. As the book draws to the end an [...]

    This is a truly fascinating book detailing the exploits of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, a group of five friends whose investigations and experiments changed the face of science forever. Erasmus Darwin, polymath and unlikely hero, manages to be the stand-out character in a group of exceptionally intriguing individuals.

    Jenny Uglow’s fascinating book, The Lunar Men – Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World, describes the lives and activities of a group (actually, more than five persons) of men in 18th century England who collaborated in pioneering scientific and technological innovation. Located in the Midlands, they lived between about 1730 and 1820 and included such names as Erasmus Darwin, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestly, James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood, and others. All were insatiably interested in [...]

    The Lunar Men is an exhilarating look at some of the great men of 18th Century Britain--Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles), Josiah Wedgwood, Joseph Priestly, James Watt, and Matthew Boulton. Each one of these men had an insatiable curiosity. While pursuing their own fields, they would suddenly pounce upon fossils, or chemistry, or anatomy and start investigating that field. Their exuberance is reflected in the author's style which rushed along a bit much for me. They are called "The Lunar M [...]

    "The Lunar Men" is a meticulous account of several extraordinary doctors, artists, and experimenters whose attempts to understand and control the world around them led to great advancements in science and manufacturing during the 18th century. These included Erasmus Darwin, James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood, Joseph Priestley, and Matthew Boulton. At monthly meetings of their Lunar Society of Birmingham, they discussed, argued, and cajoled each other about subjects as varied as steam engines, the namin [...]

    As someone in Britain who went to school in the era of Margaret Thatcher ("milk snatcher") my history education from the ages of 10 to 16 was effectively limited to hard-boiled, concentrated facts and figures relating to the Industrial Revolution, with a sprinkling of WW1 & WW2 jingoism thrown in for good measure. Thankfully (& perhaps astonishingly) this nauseatingly Gradgrind-esque introduction didn't succeed in putting me off history for life, but conversely it perhaps gave me the ink [...]

    This prize-winning book is a group biography of the 18th century experimenter members of the Lunar Society of Birmingham who met on the Mo(o)nday night nearest to the full moon. This was to facilitate their often lengthy journeys home after society meetings, and well illustrates their energy and enthusiasm. For example, Erasmus Darwin travelled some 10000 miles a year on horseback carrying out his medical duties.The general response to the book was that it was a highly enjoyable, informative and [...]

    This is an intensely researched look at the lives of five fascinating "amateur inventors" in England during the dawn of the industrial revolution, who formed a society to promote their mutual learning. The group befriended fellow amateur scientist Benjamin Franklin of America, and included James Watt of the steam engine, potter Josiah Wedgwood, Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen, and physician and evolutionary theorist Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin's grandfather. There were some brilliant [...]

    Took a little while to get going and absorb all the background history, and the claims of men "who changed the world" might be a little dramatic, but it is an good book about some brilliant men.In the late mid-late 18th century, science was still an open arena of thought and hypothesis. It was not yet under the rule of the military-industrial-academic complex. The men of this book were artisans-doctors-businessmen whose passion for ideas were the basis for a lot of scientific advancement. Some o [...]

    This one came from an Internet list.A revelation - intertwined biographies from which I learned loads, and a terrific exposition on the whole exceeding the sum of the parts. These remarkable men, complete with human failings and strong mined spouses and family, busy changing the world (really), against a backdrop of the US and French revolutions what's not to like?She writes very well, making potentially dense material accessible and page-turning, and she also makes a number of good points abou [...]

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