From the dust jacket: "THE ASCENT OF MAN traces the development of science as an expression of the special gifts that characterize man and that have made him unique among animal species. Bronowski journeys back through intellectual history in order to find 'the great monuments of human invention.' Discoveries from the flint tool to geometry, from the arch to the theory of relativity, are shown to be progressions in man's search to understand nature and control it.
The author's informal history ranges throughout most of the western world, reaching into such out-of-the-way places as Easter Island, Machu Picchu, Newton's library and Gauss' observatory, the Alhambra and the caves of Altamira. In each location, Bronowski considers the qualities of thought and imagination that conpelled man first to analyze the physical world, and then to explore the invisible laws and structures above and beneath its surface. He writes, 'Man ascends by discovering the fullness of his own gifts...what he creates on the way are monuments to the stages in his understanding of nature and of self.'"