Islamic Technology: An Illustrated History. Ahmad Y. al Hassan and Donald R. Hill. UNESCO and Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987. 304 pp. $39.50.

UNESCO sponsorship is a welcome event in the area of Islamic studies. This is particularly true in the case of this excellent treatise, which places Islamic science and technology in its cultural perspective.

The book is lavishly furnished with more than 160 illustrations, including photographs—some of rare origin—and schematic drawings of technological innovations. Eleven well-organized chapters deal with the technology of physical, chemical, geological and agricultural sciences. The authors deliberately avoid footnotes and in-text references, but provide a useful bibliography of selected references.

In a chapter analyzing the forces behind Islamic technological development, the authors explore the increase in the quality of life, demands of urbanization and the freedom of movement across the vast areas of the Islamic empire. It is clear that Arabic language...

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