Megan and Rick Prelinger’s List for the Manual for Civilization
In our continuing series of posts featuring books suggested for the Manual for Civilization, below are selections by Megan and Rick Prelinger, guerrilla archivists of San Francisco and long-time friends of Long Now.
Long Now is in the process of assembling a library of 3,500 books that contains the knowledge to sustain or rebuild civilization. Long Now members can nominate books for our library, and everyone can access what we’ve assembled so far at The Interval in San Francisco.
Megan Prelinger is an author, cultural historian and archivist. Her books include Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957–1962 and Inside the Machine: Art and Invention in the Electronic Age.
Rick Prelinger has the distinction of having given more presentations in our Seminars About Long-term Thinking series than anyone. Since 02009, each December he presents a selection of vintage films for his “Lost Landscapes” series as a Long Now Seminar. Usually centered on family home movies and other non-professional sources, it is a celebration of San Francisco past and future and a gathering of Long Now’s community.
Together Megan and Rick began the Prelinger Library in 02004. It continues as an independent research library which is open to the public and focused on “ephemeral literature.” Megan devised a unique organizational structure for the collection, sorted by geography. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of the built landscape and the space program.
The Prelingers personally walked us through the library to make selections for the Manual for Civilization. Like other lists we have posted, theirs is intended as a component of a larger corpus. With the help of suggestions by a variety of experts and Long Now members, we are identifying a body of knowledge that can help sustain the complex system we call Civilization.
Rick and Megan Prelinger’s list:
The New Exploration: A Philosophy of Regional Planning by Benton MacKaye
The Oxford Companion to the Year: An Exploration of Calendar Customs and Time-Reckoning by Bonnie J. Blackburn
Principles of Cartography by Erwin Raisz
Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth William L. Thomas, Jr. (editor)
Urban Entomology by Walter Ebeling
Landscape in Sight: Looking at America by John Brinckerhoff Jackson
A Primer of Forestry Part II Practical Forestry Bulletin №24 by Gifford Pinchot
Fire by George Stewart
Storm by George Stewart
Tales from the Underground: A Natural History of Subterranean Life by David W. Wolfe
Mechanization Takes Command by S. Giedion
The Tramp’s Hand-book by Harry Roberts illustrated by William Pascoe
Railway Track & Structures Cyclopedia Eighth Edition by Merwin H. Dick
Shield and Compressed Air Tunneling by Bertram Henry Majendie Hewett
Steel Rails: Their History, Properties, Strength and Manufacture by William Hamilton Sellew
Practical Tunnelling by Frederick Walter Simms
City: Rediscovering the Center by William Whyte
Introduction to Cartooning by R. Taylor
Fables De La Fontaine illustrated by Par Grandville
Graphic Presentation by Willard Cope Brinton, S.B.
The Code-Breakers by David Kahn
How to Use Pictorial Statistics by Rudolf Modely
Lieber’s Standard Telegraphic Code by B. Franklin Lieber
World Geo-Graphic Atlas: Composite Of Man’s Environment edited and designed by Herbert Bayer
The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen
The Movement Toward a New America: The Beginnings of a Long Revolution (A Collage)-A What? assembled by Mitchell Goodman
Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
Biosphere 2: The Human Experiment by Jane Poynter
The Communistics Societies of the United States by Charles Nordhoff
America’s Communal Utopias by Donald E. Pitzer
The Safe House: Setting Up & Running Your Own Sanctuary by Jefferson Mack
The Construction of Secret Hiding Places by Charles Robinson
Techniques of Burglar Alarm Bypassing by Wayne B. Yeager
Our thanks to the Prelingers for taking the time and care to recommend these books for our collection.
Visit the Manual in person and drink coffee, tea, or a cocktail as you read up on rabbit raising and bamboo cultivation at The Interval at Long Now.
Originally published at blog.longnow.org on March 25, 02014.