Powerful Reading

man and power textbook cover

Man and Power
The Story of Power from the Pyramids to the Atomic Age
de Camp

What a “powerful” book. (See what I did there?) I guess for 1961, this probably wasn’t a bad choice. I think it is a bit dense and maybe too much. I had trouble following along with some of the diagrams and text, so I wasn’t sure what this book was trying to do: reference? Textbook for a science course? Pleasure reading? Maybe no one else could figure it out either. For a book more than 50 years old, it has held up well.





steam engine

satellite power








  1. L. Sprague de Camp is much better known as a fiction writer. He was one of the major sci-fi writers of the 30s and 40s and is credited with being the first person to use the words “Extraterrestrial” and “ET” to refer to alien life.

  2. It doesn’t need to be kept for this reason, but that’s L. Sprague de Camp you’re talking about there–somebody will be really excited to find this in a library sale.

  3. It’s probably time for any book that uses the term “man” to mean “humans” to be weeded from most popular materials libraries.

  4. Actually, this book is pretty typical for the time. It was for upper elementary/junior high kids. We (yes, I’m that old) had a lot of books like this, and I would have loved this one. Kids were more attuned to text then than they are now. The writing is clear and straight-forward.

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