Book report: "One Good Turn"
- Greetings to the list.
You never know what you'll find in used bookstores. I recently came across a
book called "One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the
Screw," by Withold Rybczynski (which I think is pronounced more or less like
Rib-CHIN-skee). It turned out to be well-written, diligently researched and
a real pleasure to read.
The author, casting about for a subject for an essay on the "tool of the
millenium," settles on the screwdriver and starts investigating when and
where it first turned up. He finds that while the word entered the English
language only in the last two hundred years, the object itself goes back a
lot farther ... the latter part of the fifteenth century, in fact. If you
admire the non-fiction of John McPhee or David Owen, you'll see at once that
Rybczynski's prose seems as fluid and clear and effortless as theirs. And
his love for tools and their history (and history in general) speaks for
I recommend this book to anybody who loves tools and storytelling. It's is
in my library to stay. It's published by Scribner in paperback form, and the
ISBN is 0-684-86729-X.
Baron Johann von Drachenfels (John LaTorre)