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6 August 2018
The Invention of Air, by Steven Johnson
This is an interesting book – simultaneously about Enlightenment science, energy flows driving human history, and the boundary-less conception of politics, religion, and science that was embraced by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and the book’s principal protagonist, Joseph Priestley (and to a lesser, or at least less-well-documented, degree by John Adams). The discussion begins in the coffeehouses of 1760’s London, where conversation roamed freely and exuberantly between intellectuals and amateur …