One wouldn't have thought the history of engineering could produce so fascinating a record, but the indefatigable Sprague de Camp has done just that. Studded with the off-hand, gossipy glitter of a sophisticated scholar (Aristotle had a lisp; the pyramids were not built by hordes of slaves, etc.), and quoting all the ancients from the most obscure poets to Herodotus or Plutarch, the book proves a startling exploration into the evolution of technology, and consequently, of civilization. Starting with the 1000 years before Christ, it ends with Galileo and the beginnings of modern science. A pleasurable treasury.