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This is the first comprehensive history of the world's roads, highways, bridges, and the people and vehicles that traverse them, from prehistoric times to the present. Encyclopedic in its scope, fascinating in its details, Ways of the World is a unique work for reference and browsing. Maxwell Lay considers the myriad aspects of roads and their users: the earliest pathways, the rise of wheeled vehicles and animals to pull them, the development of surfaced roads, the motives for road and bridge building, and the rise of cars and their influence on roads, cities, and society. The work is amply illustrated, well indexed and cross-referenced, and includes a chronology of road history and a full bibliography. Lay, an Australian civil engineer, appreciates the relevance of roads to history. He brings to his study a sense of humor that often exploits the subject's potential bathos. Nonetheless, his deep interest and encyclopedic knowledge of the field show through and result in a book that fills certain lacunae in the history of transportation. Lay starts with the footpath, goes on to cover the technology of asphalt, and delves into bridge building (he even includes a list of extant Roman arched bridges). The internal combustion engine and its predecessors occupy much of his efforts, but he also discusses the evolution of the rules of the road and even street cleaning. There is information here for the high school research paper as well as for the engineer. Moreover, in his extensive footnotes and bibliography, Lay cheerfully gives credit where credit is due. He also adds a time line for those so inclined. Ways of the World is recommended for public libraries and all academic libraries. It is indispensable for anyone interested in travel, history, geography, transportation, cars, or the history of technology.
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James E. Vance, Jr., is emeritus professor of geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His books includeThe Continuing City, also available from Johns Hopkins.
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Book Description Rutgers University Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0813517583 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW33.1529861
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