I was going to try and scribble something editor-y to point up the book description below from its publisher but I can’t.

It’s unimprovable. And so is this book.

All I can blurt out is that for a story that reaches through the sweeping currents and tiny, super-interesting crevices of 2,000 years of civilization, it is incredibly easy to read.

It’s entertaining as all get out. And, somehow, short.

The author--whose name is pronounced wee-told rib-chin-ski-- touches on things that you’ve seen a million times and don’t think are as truly important and impactful as they are. For instance, he talks about cultures that use workbenches and cultures that don’t and what that means.

Also, the best-named-tool-ever: the Commander Maul. Just knowing a tool of that name exists makes me happy.

Here goes …

The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by The New York Times, whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." The award-winning author of Home, A Clearing in the Distance, and Now I Sit Me Down, Rybczynski once built a house using only hand tools. His intimate knowledge of the toolbox--both its contents and its history--serves him beautifully on his quest.

One Good Turn is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry. Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope--in short, no Enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization.