Connections is a brilliant examination of the ideas, inventions, and coincidences that have culminated in the major technological achievements of today. The best-selling companion volume to the "unusually intelligent television series" (Christian Science Monitor) produced by the BBC and broadcast by PBS in autumn 1979, it was conceived in the tradition of the highly popular Civilisation and The Ascent of Man.
Connections masterfully combines popular science and detective work to retrace the steps that led to eight inventions that ushered in the technological age: the computer, the production line, telecommunications, the airplane, the atomic bomb, plastics, the guided rocket, and television.
James Burke untangles the pattern of interconnecting events, the accidents of time, circumstance, and place that gave rise to these inventions and to a host of related discoveries along the way. He explains, for instance, how the arrival of the cannon led eventually to the development of movies; how the popularity of underwear in the twelfth century led to the invention of the printing press; how the waterwheel evolved into the computer. He links these inventions with one another and with the stream of history, exploring them with dazzling insight.