George G Joseph

The crest of the peacock

After the renaissance, the centre of mathematical study moved to Europe, and sometimes the contributions to mathematics from other cultures are overlooked. In The Crest of the Peacock George Gheverghese Joseph gives a history of such mathematics, starting from prehistoric markings on bones, and going on to the mathematics of Egypt and Babylonia, followed by a look at that of China, India and the Arab world. It's a lot of material to cover and sometimes it's hard going, but there are plenty of examples and diagrams which make it easier to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to find out more about the substantial contribution to mathematics from non-European cultures.

Joseph obviously feels that non-European mathematics has been poorly treated in mathematical history. However, if his aim is to persuade the reader of this then I don't think that he is doing it in the right way - as it is his comments on this seem to intrude in the rest of the text. He concludes 'there needs to be more research in this area', but I couldn't help feeling that the 'more research' was what should be in this book, especially in the 2nd edition (2000). Also the extra material for this edition was just put in a 'reflections' chapter at the end, whereas I felt that a rewriting of the individual chapters was really what was needed.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 400 pages  
ISBN: 0140125299
Salesrank: 5283019
Weight:0.6 lbs
Published: 1992 Penguin Books
Marketplace:New from $43.40:Used from $1.95
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 367 pages  
ISBN: 0140277781
Salesrank: 7768540
Weight:0.79 lbs
Published: 1992 Penguin
Marketplace::Used from £19.99
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 400 pages  
ISBN: 0140125299
Salesrank: 2125409
Weight:0.6 lbs
Published: 1990 Penguin UK
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 104.22:Used from CDN$ 2.79
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Product Description
Examines the early developments and uses of mathematics in such places as Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, and India