The Universal History of Numbers

From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer

By Georges Ifrah
(John Wiley & Sons, Paperback, 9780471393405, 656pp.)

Publication Date: January 1998

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Description
"Georges Ifrah is the man. This book, quite simply, rules. . . . It is outstanding . . . a mind-boggling and enriching experience." -The Guardian (London) "Monumental. . . . a fascinating journey taking us through many different cultures."-The Times (London)"Ifrah's book amazes and fascinates by the scope of its scholarship. It is nothing less than the history of the human race told through figures." -International Herald Tribune Now in paperback, here is Georges Ifrah's landmark international bestseller-the first complete, universal study of the invention and evolution of numbers the world over. A riveting history of counting and calculating, from the time of the cave dwellers to the twentieth century, this fascinating volume brings numbers to thrilling life, explaining their development in human terms, the intriguing situations that made them necessary, and the brilliant achievements in human thought that they made possible. It takes us through the numbers story from Europe to China, via ancient Greece and Rome, Mesopotamia, Latin America, India, and the Arabic countries. Exploring the many ways civilizations developed and changed their mathematical systems, Ifrah imparts a unique insight into the nature of human thought-and into how our understanding of numbers and the ways they shape our lives have changed and grown over thousands of years. "Dazzling."-Kirkus Reviews "Sure to transfix readers."-PublishersWeekly

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