Knowing What We Know

    • Pre-Order
    • Expected 30 Mar 2023
    • 105,00 kr

    • Pre-Order
    • 105,00 kr

Publisher Description

From internationally bestselling author Simon Winchester, a vibrant history of the collection and dissemination of knowledge.

In Knowing What We Know, Simon Winchester offers a global narrative history of how civilizations have accumulated knowledge. Winchester follows the eccentric ways and by-ways of those who compile encyclopaedias, dictionaries and online resources – from ancient texts to Wikipedia.

This remarkably original book addresses the consequences of the democratisation of knowledge. The invention of the internet has made knowledge more readily available than ever before, but is this a good thing? Winchester questions how this effects our creativity, our decision-making, our compassion.

Today, it is not people on thrones that hold the most power but the people behind the screen at companies like Google and Facebook. Winchester argues that these are the political leviathans that we must monitor.

Split into three parts – knowledge taught, dispersed, and stored – Winchester’s Knowing What We Know is an ambitious and colourful history spanning twelve millennia. Follow as humans draw on the cave wall and invent the internet, as they learn the value of almanacs and fight against censorship.



‘The intricate vocabulary used to talk about land is one of the many pleasures … The theme could not be more topical … It packs in a wealth of ideas and human drama – and gives a fresh view of centuries of social conflict seen through a geographer’s lens’
Financial Times

‘Spend some time with Simon Winchester, and you will sail oceans, survive earthquakes, peer into volcanoes, pore over maps, mine the origins of language and measure the immeasurable world … Poignant … Winchester is good … adding dashes of drama, narrative, indignation and, above all, connection to disparate historical accounts … There is soul in this book … A stirring call for communal imperatives, even if its history recounts the constant allure of private ownership’
Washington Post

‘Moving across varied histories and geographies, he offers us one case study after another of how the once seemingly inexhaustible surface of the Earth has devolved into a commodity … Winchester is a master at capturing the Old World wonder and romance … His prose frequently exudes the comfort and charm of a beloved encyclopaedia come to life, centuries and continents abutting through the pages’
New Yorker

‘Few authors of narrative nonfiction have ranged across the global landscape more widely … [A] unique blend of wide-eyed curiosity, meticulous research, and erudite analysis … Of course, this being Winchester, ‘Land’ abounds with dozens of eye-opening factoids to please any fan of popular history … But this is no mere bathroom book packed with intriguing facts. His storytelling talents on full display’
Boston Globe

About the author

Simon Winchester grew up beside the Atlantic in South West England and studied geology at Oxford. He is the bestselling author of The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, Krakatoa, The Map That Changed the World, The Surgeon of Crowthorne (The Professor and the Madman), The Fracture Zone, Outposts and Korea, among many other titles. In 2006 he was awarded the OBE. He lives in western Massachusetts and New York City.

30 March
William Collins