REVIEW: James May’s Magnificent Machines

First published in What's On by

by James May, RRP £7.99.

This sharply-written book takes an alternative look at how technology took over our lives.

While written with intelligence and wit, James May’s writing style is more akin to a man passionately talking about his work in the pub than a technological author.

In his book, May – the “other one” on Top Gear – takes a look at how technology shaped the 20th century, exploring iconic themes from the past 100 years.

Despite the potentially boffin-esque subject, the book is both informative and easy to read.

Readers are taken on a journey through the development of electronic espionage, computers, medical equipment and skyscrapers.

This is no tedious list of the greatest things ever to be invented though, for May takes an outsider's view of our world and examines not only how the inventions developed into what we have today, but also how they affected society.

The true talent in this book though lies not in the often random facts presented, but in how May successfully explores the reality that the invention of aircraft shrunk the world.

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