©2024 Fable Group Inc.
3.5 

The Greatest Invention

By Silvia Ferrara and Todd Portnowitz
The Greatest Invention by Silvia Ferrara and Todd Portnowitz digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

In this exhilarating celebration of human ingenuity and perseverance—published all around the world—a trailblazing Italian scholar sifts through our cultural and social behavior in search of the origins of our greatest invention: writing.

The L where a tabletop meets the legs, the T between double doors, the D of an armchair’s oval backrest—all around us is an alphabet in things. But how did these shapes make it onto the page, never mind form complex structures such as this sentence? In The Greatest Invention, Silvia Ferrara takes a profound look at how—and how many times—human beings have managed to produce the miracle of written language, traveling back and forth in time and all across the globe to Mesopotamia, Crete, China, Egypt, Central America, Easter Island, and beyond.

With Ferrara as our guide, we examine the enigmas of undeciphered scripts, including famous cases like the Phaistos Disk and the Voynich Manuscript; we touch the knotted, colored strings of the Inca quipu; we study the turtle shells and ox scapulae that bear the earliest Chinese inscriptions; we watch in awe as Sequoyah single-handedly invents a script for the Cherokee language; and we venture to the cutting edge of decipherment, in which high-powered laser scanners bring tears to an engineer’s eye.

A code-cracking tour around the globe, The Greatest Invention chronicles a previously uncharted journey, one filled with past flashes of brilliance, present-day scientific research, and a faint, fleeting glimpse of writing’s future.

Download the free Fable app

app book lists

Stay organized

Keep track of what you’re reading, what you’ve finished, and what’s next.
app book recommendations

Build a better TBR

Swipe, skip, and save with our smart list-building tool
app book reviews

Rate and review

Share your take with other readers with half stars, emojis, and tags
app comments

Curate your feed

Meet readers like you in the Fable For You feed, designed to build bookish communities
app book lists

Stay organized

Keep track of what you’re reading, what you’ve finished, and what’s next.
app book recommendations

Build a better TBR

Swipe, skip, and save with our smart list-building tool
app book reviews

Rate and review

Share your take with other readers with half stars, emojis, and tags
app comments

Curate your feed

Meet readers like you in the Fable For You feed, designed to build bookish communities

2 Reviews

3.5

About Silvia Ferrara

Silvia Ferrara is a professor of Aegean civilization at the University of Bologna. She studied at University College London and the University of Oxford, and after spending several years researching archaeology and linguistics at Oxford, she returned to Italy. She has taught at University College London, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and Sapienza University of Rome.

Todd Portnowitz is the translator of Go Tell It to the Emperor by Pierluigi Cappello; Midnight in Spoleto by Paolo Valesio; and Long Live Latin by Nicola Gardini. He is the recipient of a Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Start a Book Club

Start a public or private book club with this book on the Fable app today!

FAQ

Do I have to buy the ebook to participate in a book club?

Why can’t I buy the ebook on the app?

How is Fable’s reader different from Kindle?

Do you sell physical books too?

Are book clubs free to join on Fable?

How do I start a book club with this book on Fable?

Error Icon
Save to a list
0
/
30
0
/
100
Private List
Private lists are not visible to other Fable users on your public profile.
Notification Icon