Review: Unlocking the unique world of “The Book – The Ultimate Guide to Rebuilding Civilization”

Published by Daisy on

civilisation book airplane

Hello, fellow book lovers and welcome readers with curious minds! Today’s review dives into the fascinating journey of Hungry Mind’s “The Book”, a colossal tome that styles itself as “the ultimate guide to rebuilding civilization”. I know, this sounds intense, but really it’s a joyous combination of history, humour and how-to. Most of my review is in the video, but I also have some more information below if you need it.

Disclaimer – I was sent a review copy of this publication, but this does not affect my review and the content is not sponsored. I actually had my eye on this book back when it was on Kickstarter but couldn’t deal with the international postage. So I’m thrilled it is finally out in a trade edition – it’s beautifully made, gorgeously illustrated and I throughly enjoyed it! Also please note that some of the links below are affiliate links for which I may be compensated (this does not affect my reviews nor cost you any money, but helps support my site hosting costs). I deeply appreciate your support of my site if you use these links, but warmly encourage you to buy from your local Indie bookshop if you have the opportunity.

Video Review

More about the book

Where to find it:
Publisher direct (use promo code BEAUTBOOK5 for 5% until 31.1.2024, and get a free clamshell case!) | Amazon

What’s it about?

Carl Sagan famously once said that “we live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” So while the subtitle of this book calls itself a guide to rebuilding civilisation post-apocalypse, ‘The Book’ is actually an inspirational journey through pivotal moments of technological innovation throughout history. However, the illustrations are where this book truly shines. Think medieval art style with a steampunk aesthetic, and a very generous sprinkle of sly humour. Look closely, and you’ll spot all sorts of references to mythology and literature hidden within the artworks.

A few pages from the book looking at medicines, mechanisms and musical instruments:

How big is it?

At 9 inches wide, 12 inches tall, and weighing in at almost 3kgs/6 lbs, this book isn’t just a read; it’s a workout. That said, I’ve been reading it in bed, and I was happily surprised at how comfortable it was to read. Packed with over 450 pages, each leaf is a treasure trove of information, art, science, and history.

Who made it?

The book is published by ‘Hungry Minds’. You might have noticed that there is no mention of the team that worked on this book anywhere – apparently they intentionally left those details off the publication to give it more of an air of “magical artefact” that could help rebuild civilizations throughout time. But these guys certainly deserve praise for their accomplishment, and you can read about them on the publisher’s website (bravo peeps, awesome work!)

Will it really help me build a civilization?

Haha, well, the short answer is no, I don’t think so. There are many fascinating things in the book, but this wide breadth of coverage of course means you lose out on depth. You’ll get the general gist of how things work, but not the fine detail.

Is it suitable for children?

I reckon most teens would love it – particularly those with an interest in history, science, art, world-building, etc. And there’s heaps of conversation starters for home-schoolers. But I’d use judgement for younger kids – e.g. there is a busty naked mermaid on one page (I’d be fine with this, but others may not be), and also a spread on sex toys (so definitely make sure you’re ready to answer questions on that if you plan sharing with a young audience).

What’s next?

You might also like to check out Hungry Mind’s upcoming publication, ‘Anthem to Humankind‘ – apparently it is about the essence of human culture viewed through the porthole of an alien ark – sounds fascinating!

hungry minds anthem to humankind

As always, thanks so much for visiting my little corner of the internet! And if you happen to know anything about the questions I asked in the video – who is that well monster? what is the meaning of the broken modern artwork? have you ever played bulquack? – please do enlighten me!!


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