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One Good Turn
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The Best Tool of the Millennium The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by The New York Times, whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." The award-winning author of Home, A Clearing in the Distance, and Now I Sit Me Down, Rybczynski once built a house using only hand tools. His intimate knowledge of the toolbox -- both its contents and its history -- serves him beautifully on his quest. One Good Turn is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry. Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope -- in short, no enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization.
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Paul Challen The Toronto Star One Good Turn is a good, short read in the classic Rybczynksi mode -- an ordinary thing, explained extraordinarily. M. R. Montgomery The New York Times Book Review What Rybczynski sees is that everything that requires mechanical precision, and that includes the instrumentation of modern science, rises out of the perfection of the simple screw and the complex machinery required to manufacture these indispensable items.

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