Bryan E. Norwood The reissue of Sigfried Giedion's () Mechanization Takes Command is a welcome addition to the growing body of architectural. Mechanization takes command: a contribution to anonymous history PART IV MECHANIZATION ENCOUNTERS THE ORGANICpage ; MECHANIZATION. The following year his Mechanization Takes Command appeared. In he returned to the United States to teach at the Massachusetts.

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William F. Ogburn; Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History. By Siegfried Giedion. This content is only available as a PDF. Download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd. Flag for inappropriate MECHANIZATION TAKES COJ\Il\IAND Mechanization Takes Command will serve. PDF | Drawing from the theme of “fabulations”, this paper will revisit Siegfried Giedion's monumental work Mechanization Takes Command.

Arensberg Collec- tion.. Each pieiure showed an isolated plulse. Athlete Descending a Staircase. Marcy attached a strip of white paper lo the wing of the bird and allowed it In fly before a bU. A parallel phenomenon occurs in philosophy and literature. Walking Away from the Camera. It underlies the concept of function and of variables in higher mathematics.

Five wing beats. Creative Evolution. And in physics. Ahnost simul- taneously with Lumiere's cinematograph New York Gilbreth Pink Square. Courtesy Buchholz Gallery. Are the trajectories.

Yet the universalistic outlook did not fail altogether to live on. The first of the world exposi- tions at the close of the revolutionary years London. The greater part of Saint-Simon's life was spent in the eighteenth century. It would he a rewarding task to follow the survival and dying-out of this tendency down to the filtering of isolation into the various branches: He sees in mechanization not what was made of it.

The exploitation of man by man will disappear. For Henri de Saint-Simon industry is the great liberator. An army of workers will girdle the earth. This much is certain: Only in our period. Closely bound up with this belief that the world has a defmite purpose is the outlook of rational- ism. It will sweep away nationalism and militarism.

Beginning with the nineteenth century. The ancients perceived the world as eternally existing and self-renew- ing. Rationalism goes hand in hand with the idea of progress. In the nineteenth century the creed of progress was raised into a dogma. In the first decades industry increasingly assmnes the prestige held by science. Perhaps our epoch. The closely connected The eighteenth century all but identified the advance of science with social progress and the perfectibility of man.

His conceptious rest on uuiversal grounds. The Age of Enterprise. These festivals to the ideas of progress. This was espe- cially true in the time of its greatest popularity and expansion.

Fanaticism for production as such was heretofore confined to the manufacturing groups. In this ronndahont way Herbert Spencer was turned into the philosopher of the ruling taste. He provided the theoretical bulwark.

Belief in progress is replaced by faith in production. The period in which the great international expositions are historically significant. Production for produc- tion's sake had existed ever since the Lancashire cotton spinners first showed the world what mechanization on the grand scale was capable of doing. A glinuner of universality is also found in the writings of the great savants. Evolution is now used interchangeably with progress. A sociolo- gist has recently observed that over Mechanizing production means dissecting work into its component operations.

In the time of full mechanization. Herbert Spencer. With the waning of faith in progress. Wealth of Nations in In a practical direction the sole systematic application of the Ancient's phys- ical knowledge was to warfare.

On thew hole their devices were incomparably more primitive. The Alexandrian inventors hnilt cannon working hy compressed air. The technical equipment of the later Rmnan thermae. And even more remarkable to a later period. Hero of Alexandria. They are practical.

They created magical machinery and automatons. In hardly a point. Bnt social institutions change as soon as the orientation changes. Complex events. We shall return to this point when dealing with the mechanization of the bath.

This was the predestined honr for mechanization. Invention and the Miraculous Onr present-day point of view tends to identify the inventive impulse with the mechanizing of production. The Ancients thought along altogether different lines. Archi- medes screws. The guilds hecame obsolete as soon as the rationalistic view became dominant and moved continually toward util- itarian goals.

The second half of the sixteenth century. The rationalistic approach to things came to the fore in the Renaissance. The nine- teenth century and our century expanded to the gigantic this principle of division and re-assembly.: They are hut spelling exercises in mechanization. Mecha- nization could not hecome a reality in an age of guilds.

But completely foreign to their outlook was the idea of placing their great inventive talents in the service of production. Iron and Steel in the Industrial Revolr: Hellen- istic Alexandria.

Thus the temple gates swung open auto- matically as soon as fire was sited on the altar and swung to when the flame died. Here they eased the hauling of coal wagons. But this fails to explain why they did not apply their knowledge practically. Hero put on wheels gliding over rails of wood. Religious plays. The Alexandrian inventors were masters in combining the so-called 'simple machines.

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Its doctors laid down the bases of brain anatomy. Amid this atmosphere. Wooden rails are said to have appeared in English mines in the early seventeenth century. This book's suhject compels us to pass over the period which by its experi- mentation is closer than alnwst any other to the nineteenth century.

And sirnilarly with the foundations of geometry Euclid and astronomy Ptolemy.

Only about did the general use of rolling stock on wooden rails astonish continental visitors to English coal mines. The urge to put invention in the service of the miracle survived throughout Islam down to the eighteenth century. The steam engine.

Jacques de Vaucanson. His automatons hear witness to an astonishing capacity for turning machines into performers of complex organic movements. Conspicuous in Islamic miniatures are the automatons. To illustrate in a simple way how the miraculous and the utilitarian co-existed in the eighteenth century.

What has changed is the orientation. They were shown before the courts of Europe. This love of the miraculous was passed on to the Arabs. The fact was that they possessed an inner orientation. Inexhaustible are the proposals for birds that move their wings and chirp when water pressure drives air through hidden pipes. What created a sensation in the late eighteenth century was not the new spinning machinery. The Miraculous and the Utilitarian To go one step further: The perfecting of automatons in the eighteenth century is related to the high standard of the crafts and especially to the refinement of the clock-making industry.

In him the two opposite conceptions dwell side by side. He is a mechanical genius whose lifetime runs parallel with Louis XV and Buffon. Just as we were unable to invent a form of relaxation suited to our way of life. They are hased on a minute decomposition and reintegration of move1nents. Vaucanson had studied anatomy. Jogc de Vaucanson. He makes numerous improvements in spinning and weaving.. Even more admired was the mechanical duck.. Its heddles are automatically raised and lowered by means of a drum pierced with holes.

A-fkanisme d'un jluteur mkanique. About he constructs a mechanical loom for figured silks. In Alexandria we already find mechanisms being released by 3 Encyclopedie ou Dictionnaire raisonne. Vaucanson had exhibited bis duck in Its wings imitated nature in every detail and they beat the air.

Annfie Vaucanson's automatons and the long line of similar creations by others reflect the extraordinary mechanical subtlety of the eighteenth century. It would wag its head. On the same principle Vaucanson constructed a drummer. It could waddle and swim. The flutist. A mechanism inside ground up the grain and caused its exit from the body much as in natural circumstances.

The philosopher Condorcet. In ' he set up a silk factory at Anbenas near Lyons. The source of power is a single overshot water wheel. See especially Planches v et VI.

He calls for softened light. Eighteenth-century France was a testing ground in almost every domain. Mechanization was among these. What a contrast with the unwieldy four or eight spindle constructions used in the first cotton spinning machines of England l Yet these efforts came to nothing.

Vaucanson speaks of an experiment made at Auhenas twenty -years previously. Vaucanson had insight into the fact that industry could not be housed in wooden shacks or in random buildings. The small models preserved in the Conserva- toire des Arts et Metiers. It is Vancanson's practical activities that are historically the most interesting.

Annke Vaucanson's looms place him in the long series of inventors who. Ideas arose that could become reality only in the nineteenth eentury.

Vaneanson's loom did not have immediate eon- se. In the inventor Jacqnard of Lyons assembled the fragments of Vancanson's loom in the Paris Conservatoire des Arts et Mctiers 8 and thus invented his weaving automaton. The 'flyers' of the turn of the century are antfoipated here. His treatise gives full details of the plan. Primitive ventilation and vaulting insure to some extent the moist and temperate atmosphere necessary for spinning the silk.

To the best of our knowledge this is the first industrial plant in the modern sense. No govermnent set up privileged factories: Lonely spots like Manchester. Climbing from below. James Hargreaves. Not before did he turn from his nonnal calling. Here the inventors were neither nobles nor savants. Those who first introduced the cotton manufacture into Lancashire were Protestant refugees.

The Mechanizing of Production To carry through the mechanizing of production. And Richard Arkwright. No academy puhlishcd their experiments. Here was the road to mass production. And just as the textile itself was rougher. Silk was a luxury textile for a luxury class. In a hostile environment. In twenty factories were under his control.

The English experimented with cotton from the start. While Richard Arkwright. Trained workers were scarce.

In the following century the mechanization of cotton spinning became everywhere almost synonymous with industrialization. Only thus cau we understand that by two n1id-western farmers had on the field a harvesting machine fig.

Yet an essential reason may lie elsewhere. The well-to-do imported from England their fine furniture. At that time there was no American industry. America pro- ceeded otherwise from the first. The settlers brought over their European mode of living.

The way in which. What distinguishes European from American mechanization can be observed in the eightcenth- century beginnings as it can a century and a half later. Oliver Evans. These symp- toms assert the orientation from which sprang the whole development of the United States. This was achieved by continuous line production. But the impulse was there eveu earlier. It appeared about a century ahead of its time. The impulse behind it was the necessity t-0 economize labor and the dearth of skilled workers.

The Simple and the Complicated Craft First experiences are often decisive for the future development. But from the organization of the complicated craft and the whole culture in which such institutions had The sudden leap from Robiusonian conditions amid the virgin forest into an advanced stage of mechanization is a phenomenon that recurs again and again in this period.

Europe began with the mechanizing of the simple craft: The dimensions of the land. Of mecha- nization this is certainly true in more than one respect. Only as the Gothic period was nearing its close. In a few countries like Switzerland. A token of this was the obligation to pass through the traditional stages from apprentice to journeyman and master. The modest tin1ber houses of the Gothic towns.

The axe. Imagination was given scope to shape reality unhindered. This careful formation in all branches yielded excellently qualified workers. The highly developed craft has its roots in the late Gothic period. Parallel with this. Even the factory mechanic was trained in a similar way. Down to the nineteenth century this late Gothic interior continued as a core of further development.

And when this does occur. The butcher. An inner resistance to mechanization keeps it from penetrating over-far into the sphere of intimate living. Its rise is inseparably bound up with the revival of municipal life. The complicated handicraft tends however to give to life a certain rigidity and slowness. Then a remarkable symbiosis occurs. The need for organized living within a com- munity explains why in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries city life that had dwindled more and more began to function again.

Handicraft lives on side by side. They had to start from scratch. America's original contribution. Profile of the Decades The 'Sixties In every domain there arc times that foreshadow future developments with extraordinary swiftness. Invention was in the normal course of things. Around mid-century. Taking the key industry of the nineteenth century as an index. France We shall briefly discuss the significance of these decades. Ilistoire de l'industrie. Until late in the eighteenth century.

But we must beware of assuming an identity between the inventive urge and the degree of industrialization. A collective fervor for invention seems to course through this period. The orientation that was later to sway the masses of the people first takes shape in the minds of the few.

Europe and particularly England arc seen to have been well in the lead. Such was by no means tbe case. Toward the mid-nineteenth century it gained its hold over the broad masses. France 4 million. Greater still. The 'sixties in America were such a time. Anonymously and inconspicuously the old tools were transformed into modern instruments. In America had over In the seventeenth century the inventive urge was possessed hy a limited group of scholars. But to the period after we shall again and again.

Everyone invented. Never did the number of inven- tions per capita of the population exceed its proportion in America of the 'sixties. Not in great names or in great inventions. From this period. Yet with good warrant one may call the era het ween the wars the time of full mechanization. Our point of view is too close to allow a total reckoning of what happened in these two decades.

On the Con- tinent too the farming population. This becomes truly evident in the 'sixties. Even within these years there are times of widely varying intensity. In the American patent lists of the late 'thirties. This ratio began If we turn so often to the pa tent drawings. Before full mechanization was aheady setting in. The greater body of life was left nndistnrhed.

But only a fraction of the popular hahit of invention is preserved in the Patent Oilice. For others. In the United States in The development is too fluid to be tied within strict limits. Mechanization penetrated many areas with success. This much. The aclivity of the anon- ymous inventor is more revealing. In them no small portion of folk-art lies concealed. A single enterprise in a single hnilding in New York prepares food for The mechanization of the kitchen coincides with the mechanizing of nutri- tion.

They absorh an unprecedented share of space. The time of full mechanization is identical with the time of 1he tin can. Around the canning industry. The time of full mechanization hrings an enormous increase in the output and varieties of processed foods: We shall confine ourselves almost exclusively to mechanization's advance into the private sphere.

Sixteenth Census of the United State. AB 1he kitchen grows more strongly mechanized. To establish at what moment the various electrical appliances hecame popularized we addressed a questionnaire to one of the large mail-order houses.

The phenomenon of sulnnitting food to mass production is likewise seen in the development of chain restaurants. In the time of full mechanization more appliances grew into household necessities than had heen introduced in 1he whole preceding century.

By less than 1 in 4 of the total population lived on farms. Doughnuts swimming in hot fat are transported on the endless helt. It impinged upon the very center of the hmnau psyche. For the first time it takes possession of the house and of whatever in the house is sus- ceptible of mechanization: But mechanization implanted itself more deeply. The phonograph. New values are horn with the new medium.

First concrete highways. The automobile is a personal appurtenance which comes to he understood as a movable part of the household: Its mass production began in the second decade. Cannery Row. As sound was added to the moving picture. More than any other medium. To close the circle. For the eye and the ear. But the locomotive is a neutral vehicle. To investigate the sociological implications of the automobile or the psychic 16 John Steinbeck.

For the reproduction of sound t lrougb space even greater potentialities were opened. With the exaggeration permitted to a moral critic. The automobile is a harbinger of full mechan- ization. John Steinbeck remarks. This trend can he observed everywhere. In the land where in the 's Henry Thoreau pro- foundly but unsentimentally described the life of the tramper. Transportation was one of the favorite objects of nineteenth-century mechanization.

The cinema. The eye accommodates itself to two-dimensional representation. I ts refinement occurred parallel to the introduction of the radio.

Now music is mechanized in its full tonal range. The adding of sound and of color aims at an increasing realism. The theory of the Anglo-Saxon home becarne so warped that it never quite recovered. Organic substance or inorganic. There are Russians and Hungarians. The artists resort to elements such as machines. At this point we can no more than give a few hints of the many-sidedness of this perception. In the inorganic Bnt snch research pertains to fields other than onrs and demands the teamwork of many disciplines.

Here the demand for production delves into the springs of life. In the time of full mechanization still newer developments set in. The same anxiety and loneliness pervade the melancholic architectures of his early period and his tragic mechanical dolls. The dream Giorgio de Chirico reports his most obsessive intermingles the image of his father with the daemonic strength of the machine: One sphere is already taking clearer shape: In the hands of Marcel Duchamp and others.

Thrall Soby. Each tinie I grasp him. The host of unknowns that these processes involve makes nneasiness hard to dispel. It is no longer replacement of the human hand by the machine. Mechanization has penetrated down to the artist's subconsciousness. What occurs in art in this period gives the most intimate insight regarding how deeply mechanization penetrated man's inner existence. On the other hand there are Leger's large canvasses. The kneading of bread. But the method that fonns the basis of all mechanization is amazingly simple.

Artisans shape the metal into strips. The human hand is a prehensile tool. Its sensi- tive skin feels and recognizes materials. The triple-articulated fingers. This engraving entitled 'The Artisans al Work' is from the Descriptions des arts et rnetiers.

Each movement depends on an order that the brain must constantly repeat. Descriptions des arts ct rnetiers. In its very way of performing movement. Duhamel du Monceau. The large flal trip hammers beat with varyiflg force and speed as the volume of water falling on the wheel is greater or kss.

It can seize. Muscles and tendons determine how it will seize and hold the object. L'Artde convertir le cuivre rouge. Flexibility and articu- lation are its key words. For all the compli- cated tasks to which this organic tool may rise. It wholly contra- dicts the organic. The eye steers its movement. It can search and feel. But vital to all this integrated work is the mind that governs and the feelings that lend it life.

A Contribution to Anonymous History

The Art of Converting Red Copper. That is precisely what mechanization entails: The difference between walking aud rolling. The second phase concerns the means of mechanization: By what procedures are objects to be mechanically reproduced? As early as the first decades of the nineteenth century. Frank W. Today America excel.

These had their beginning in the nineteenth-century endeavor to creale satisfactory work clothes. It cannot continue a movement in endless rotation. The hand can be trained to a degree of automatic facility. A Fourth Dimen- sion for Measuring Skill Montgomery Ward It must always he grasping.

But one power is denied it: Dies become of growing importance: Forming I-Ialves of Metal Lifeboats.. Side by side with the differentiation and reshaping of age-old tools. Joseph Bramah invenled the hydraulic press about As mechanization advanced. A California saw mill superintendent 'realized while engaged in his U!

Ork hm11 11ery great are the objec- tions lo the use of solid-tooth saw. The engraling of the Hydraulic Press.

Interchangeable Parts: Replaceable Saw-teeth. Jann- ary We have but scanty knowledge. The only example we show here is a scythe blade invented in fig. Simeon North. Reaper Parts. Early lJse of Interchangeable Parts for J. Thomas Jefferson in an often-quoted letter observed that a mechanic was manufacturing guns from interchangeable parts In France.

That is. Chicago occurred in their productionc It was hy dies that hammers. Bui the nou1 rare catalogue of Walter A. Courtesy tltcCormick Historical Society. The machines that Brunel invented or combined with existing ones for the production of pulley hlocks based on standardization and inter- changeability are descrihed and illustrated in full detail in the early nineteenth- century editions of the Encydopaedia Britannica.

SC ' thcs 1 were given their shapes. Eli 'Vhitney. Of the earl ' beginnings some facts and fragments are generally known. Iloosick Falls. This was half a century hefore Henry Ford in the automohile industry familiarized the hroader public with the same principle. The inventor suhsequently returned to the Atlantic States. Wood Mowing and Reaping Machine Company.

Hoosick Falls. But it is still a matter of small dimensions even in mid-century. The idea of saws with interchangeable teeth fig. Walter A. From the first. Circu'lar for the Year This catalogue of gives more space to the representation of interchangeahle parts than to the machines themselves.

One of the very rare catalogues from the 'sixties. Skilled work- manship was needed for clock repair and tbe interchanging of clock parts.

Proposals for the interchangeability of larger parts were advanced in various spheres at the heginning of the 'fifties.

Only one point need be touched upon here: Interchangeability hecon1es an interesting question as soon as it is applied to larger machines. As we soon shall see. This whole field will not he gone into further here. So far as we can yet ascertain. He framed it with delicate ornamenta- tion as if he were illuminating a mtmuscript.

Switzerland fig. The Gothic period was very sparing of bodily comfort hut felt strongly that imagination should animate the objects of man's surroundings. Nouveau livre de serrurerie. His work included. Recueil des ou11rages de serrurerie sur la Place Royale de Na. He nnited mastery of hand with the gift of untiring inventiveness. Especially interesting are plates Aud the handle that draws the latch be transformed into an abstract serpentine shape ending in an animal head.

They wove transparent iron veils before the altar or the park. The woodwork of a door is rough and not highly finished. In one case the artist-locksmith binds into the architectonic space his high iron structure. When he comes to the refined handicraft. Art has so wrought the metal as to fuse it with architecture. In one of them. It has been said that he described the cellar and the attic but forgot the salon. Late Gothic I. By the time of Haussmann's transformation of Paris under the Second Empire.

Locks and Builders Hardware. Iron has become as snpple as wood. Their cat- alogues were like texthooks of art history. Out of experience in the construction of these expensive locks. It is twisted at will and changed into light and mobile leaves. At first. Nowhere else in this respect did the transition from handicraft to mechanical production take place with such speed and effi- ciency as in the United States.

What the smith had formerly forged hy hand out of iron was then entrusted to the mold. It was unfruitful from the historical point of view.. Between and To gain an insight into the real nature of mechanization we shall have to confine ourselves to the lock. There is no creativeness in the mechanical prodnction of cast-iron grilles and ornaments. But we shall not deal further here with this aspect of mechanization in the locksmith's trade.

The steps in this change occurred during the two decades from to The wood- work is relatively rough. The craftsman spent hi. This change of material greatly reduced the cost of production. From the late eighteenth century onward.. We are choosing this lock for discussion hecause in it the principle of the hand- made lock is completely changed.

Early 's. Landauer Colle. It came about with the great flood of inventions of the 'sixties.

Mechanization Takes Command

New-York Historical Society. It translates ancient as well as reeent tradi- tions into terms of elahorate mechanical production. Of the multitude of answers offered for the lock prohlem. Watercolor Sketch for a Fireproof Safe Advertisement. A rare specirnen preserved in the Bella C. This interplay of things stemming from Antiquity with more recent dwelop- mcnts has a counterpart in the art of our day. The direct expressions of quite diverse periods. No one suc- ceeded. The Early Stage: Cast-iron chests for common purposes were made in England about In the late 'twenties and the early 'thirties.

Demonstrating hi.. Its first success was registered in the early 'thirties on the occasion of a big fire. They spontaneously dubbed it the 'Salamander. Tbe first portable fireproof chests were constructed in France around Several examples of these will be foWld in: Their walls consisted of two iron plates with a layer of healrrcsistant material between them.

New York.. It was in the 'fifties that the fireproof safe reached its standard form. England took the lead. Time and Architecture.. The lock. Interesting and important information respecting the preservation of hooks. Its principle is that the bit of the key acts directly. The key.. The eighteenth century made locks more complicated by inserting. The heat melted tl1e l1i11ges of tl1e doors. Wood's store in this place has been consumed by fire last night.

The English developed still more complicated interplay between tumbler and bolt. As the first opulent residences were being built along Regent's Park in London for the anonymous rising class established around through the development of industry and trade. The Refinement of the Bank Lock On the technical side. The French excelled in everything connected with refined handicrafts. Widely advertised as an excellent American product.

These parallel plates had to be aligned by the key before they would allow the bolt to be shot. But wme wonderment even then. It acls on the 'pi. It was a Mr. And although Bramah's lock was at last picked at the great Exhibition of in London. The key. Hobbs thus proved that 'any lock which leaves its tumblers exposed to sight or feeling through the key- hole can be opened. This appears from.

The Elder Yale's Door Lock. The door lock of the elder Yale rep- resents a transition from the cornplicaled bank lock lo the simple mechanized door lock of Linus Yale Jr. But Bramab's lock fully occupied him for nearly a month. Hobbs of New York who won the two-hundred guineas the manufacturers of Bramah's lock had put up for anyone who could manage to pick it.

There is a close rel. Patented It already anticipates the bank lock in the way. Its principle is that of the earlier locks. Awarding the Institute's Diploma and Gold! The Newell.

Mechanization Takes Command

This was the 'Parautoptic lock. New York fig.. Day 8t. But no one succeeded. American Bank Lock: Day and Newell's 'ParautopticLock. Hobbs had invented a way of fastening glass doorknobs into their sockets. A few years later the Champion Parauloplic was in turn picked by I.

The Colt Revolver. Suddenly A1nerican products were coming to the fore. Linus Yale. Hobbs's success in London was complete. During these years in Philadelphia According to Newell's report.

It has triumphantly resisted all efforts of the most skillful and ingenious to open il. Goodyear's rubber products. Hobbs's assertion that 'no impressions can be taken. Giedion was appointed professor at the university in Zurich. The following year his Mechanization Takes Command appeared. In he returned to the United States to teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lecturing at Harvard.

After Gropius' retirement in , his biography of Gropius appeared in Giedion returned to Harvard as a visiting professor from , lobbying with another part-time Harvard lecturer, Eduard Sekler, for a return architectural history courses to Harvard's architectural program, which Gropius had eliminated.

In he delivered the A. Based on his Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, English Spazio, tempo ed architettura: lo sviluppo di una nuova tradizione, Milan: U. German Espace, temps, architecture.

La naissance d'une nouvelle tradition, trans. All three authors lived in New York at the time of writing the statement; intended for publication in a volume planned by the American Abstract Artists which never appeared. Joan Ockman, Rizzoli, , pp A biography of Gropius.For the masses of the population.

The result was an aesthetic of symbols that people desired yet that had no relationship to the conditions of production—a superstructure entirely detached from its base. What a contrast with the unwieldy four or eight spindle constructions used in the first cotton spinning machines of England l Yet these efforts came to nothing. Sigfried Giedion Prague - Zurich was an architectural historian.

I studied history for many years and this is my favourite history book, bar none. Where do connecting links exist? Walking Away from the Camera.

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