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Catapult: Harry And I Build A Siege Weapon



It all started when Jim Paul, an ordinary guy, wanted to take a piece of Red creek quartzite on a plane. The woman operating the metal detector made him take it out of his bag because it could be used, he was told, as a weapon.

"That's ridiculous," Jim said, "It's just a rock, not a weapon." And a pretty stupid one to try to hijack anything with, he added to himself. But then he started to think bout it. That piece of rock he held in his hands was two and half million years old, longer than man had been around. Maybe, at one point, it had been a weapon. Jim began thin king bout rocks, about ancient civilization, about time, weapons, and history. And slowly an idea dawned...

He wanted to build a catapult and shoot rocks into the Pacific Ocean.

He shared the idea with his friend Harry. Harry thought Jim was nuts. "Besides, you never make stuff," Harry said. "It would be technical. I'd do all the work. It would cost money. Just forget about it, OK?" But Jim, surprised by the force of this whim, persuaded Harry to help, and they set out on an odyssey to bring their crazy Idea to life, and build a catapult to fling a rock as it may have been flung thousands of years ago.

By calling the catapult "art", and saying that he was going to "observe the impulse to build a catapult," Jim was able to obtain a grant. But life isn't quite as simple as it used to be, he found out. A Roman could essentially go cut down a tree for timber to use in building his weapon. Jim, living in San Francisco, had to go buy lumber (among other things) at considerable time and effort---not to mention expense. Despite this, and some rather strange looks from his friends and acquaintances, Jim found that he had to build this catapult, that it was necessary to throw rocks with it. It seemed that the catapult, through all their trials and tribulations, had taken on a life of its own and was willing Jim and Harry to finish their project. "Catapult consciousness" became a state of being for these two friends, and with it came a new understanding of armaments, modern culture, and what it means to be a part of human society.

Interspersed with Jim and Harry's modern-day adventures are scenes from the real life of weapons: how the catapult as developed and what came of it; and the development of firearms, cannons, missiles, and nuclear bombs (which, surprisingly, were created using the same physical principles as the catapult). Some of the most famous men in history have their turn in this book: Archimedes, King Solomon, Nero, Harry Truman, and J Robert Oppenheimer, to name just a few.

CATAPULT is one of the most exciting "think" books to come along in years, chronicling two twentieth-century men's attempt to build a medieval siege weapon in a timely, insightful, speculative, and philosophical look at war, art, and friendship.


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Condition: Used - Good, Dust jacket is really worn on the edges and was possibly wet. Inside is like new.
ISBN: 9780394585079
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Published: 1991

This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 04 November, 2012.

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