This fact-filled compendium will delight all with a passion for science and technology, no matter what their age. Covering the history of humanity in five parts, from the ancient world to the present, Carlisle, a professor emeritus at Rutgers and an authority on the history of technology, explains the origins of objects as common as the ballpoint pen and as complex as the periodic table of elements. There are surprises to be found: for instance, while we associate the invention of the arch with the Romans, Carlisle says pre-Roman arches have been found in Egypt. On a less serious note, while the origin of the word "whisky" is Gaelic ("uisge"), distilled liquors probably existed as far back as 800 B.C. in China.