Here’s a sneak peek of two W. W. Norton non-fiction titles being released early this year. Save the date, save time to read them.
In CRÆFT: An Inquiry into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts [now on sale], archaeologist and medieval historian Alexander Langlands takes us into the world of traditional crafts to recover a sense of cræft that connects us with our human past, our sense of place, and our remarkable capacity to survive in the harshest of landscapes. We follow Langlands as he journeys from his home in Wales to Spain, France, England, Scotland, and Iceland in search of the material traces and lost meanings of everyday human making. Along the way, we glimpse living embodiments of ancient cræft through Langlands’ engaging tales of his own adventures herding sheep, keeping bees, tanning hides, spinning wool, and thatching roofs. Langlands reveals that what lies behind our desire for products bearing the mark of authenticity—from the DIY movement to the rise of craft beers—may be nothing less than an a deep respect for human ingenuity and the passing on of traditions from generation to generation.
Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World [on sale February 2] presents a sweeping, global history of the rise of the factory and its effects on society. In an ambitious work of scholarship that is also wonderfully accessible, celebrated historian Joshua B. Freeman tells the story of the factory and examines how it has reflected both our dreams and our nightmares. Guiding readers from the textile mills of Victorian England to the present-day behemoth factories of China and Vietnam, Freeman also traces the idea of the factory in the history of thought, politics, and art, giving weight to the industrial legacies that shaped and continue to define our world.