|Plot Summary of Gunpowder — Alchemy, Bombards & Pyrotechnics: The History of the Explosive that Changed the World|
|"The history of gunpowder begins, predictably, in 10th century China where Kelly reveals that this unique compound of sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter was the result of Oriental alchemists' search for an immortality potion. The “fire drug,” originally made with honey instead of charcoal, was purported to contain a mystical vitality, demonstrated by its startling combustibility.
From these ancient beginnings, Kelly launches into a worldwide examination of mankind's ongoing fascination with “artificial fire” that begins in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ranges into India and Japan, onto the high seas in the Age of Sail, and finally reaches the shores of America. At each step of the way, Kelly's prose provides a spark that sets the events of history ablaze with gunpowder at their center.
Perhaps most interesting, however, is just how far Kelly roams in pursuing gunpowder's history. As you might expect, this book looks at how gunpowder and firearms technology affected the development of metallurgy, ballistics and surgery as soldiers and generals took advantage of gunpowder on the battlefield, and dealt with its aftermath. But Kelly also provides insight into a wide variety of not-so-typical fields in which gunpowder played pivotal roles, including economics, religion, theater, philosophy and chemistry.
Kelly doesn't set out to provide tacit evidence for government regulation of firearms. “Gunpowder” claims that even the most destructive of technologies can be put to productive, beneficial use.
Scott Farrell, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Gunpowder — Alchemy, Bombards & Pyrotechnics: The History of the Explosive that Changed the World|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Kind Of History
Time of history:
- 19th century
- 18th century
- 17th century
- 1000-1600 AD
History of military?
Subjects of this Historical Account
Intelligence of subject of
How much gore?
- 1 ()
Accounts of torture and death?
- no torture/death
Book makes you feel...
How much focus on stories of individuals?
- Focuses mostly on the people/nation level
How much romance?
- 1 ()
- A handful
- Necessary maps provided
Length of book
- 250-300 pages