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Publisher's Summary

In the midst of a seemingly endless supply of mass-manufactured products, we find ourselves nostalgic for products bearing the mark of authenticity - handmade furniture, artisan breads, craft beers, and other goods produced by human hands. What often goes unnoticed is the transformation of our understanding of craft - or rather, craeft - in the wake of industrialization.  

In Craeft, archaeologist and medieval historian Alexander Langlands argues that our modern understanding of craft only skims the surface. His journeys from his home in Wales have taken him along the Atlantic seaboard of Europe, from Spain through France and England to Scotland and Iceland in search of the lost meaning of craft. 

Reaching as far back as the Neolithic period, he combines deep history with scientific analyses and personal anecdotes. We follow the author as he herds sheep, keeps bees, tans hides, spins wool, and thatches roofs. We learn scythes work much better on tall grass than the latest model of weed trimmers, that you can spin wool using a large wooden spoon, and that it was once considered criminal to work on animal hides before a requisite 12-month soak.

©2017 Alexander Langlands (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Cræft

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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So masculine

You would think in the first three chapters he could talk about women’s role in craeft but everything he talks about revolves around men. I had to shut it off.

4 people found this helpful

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Too little information too much brag and biography

I absolutely adore this world of history and have read several books in it's realm. This book despite it's appearance is mostly a long winded humble brag about this person's life and work in the world of european historical work and craft.

This book is extremely eurocentric and even has a style that makes it seem like it's written directly to an audience living in the UK. That's fine It can still be interesting... but the pacing, phrasing and tone is exactly that of a meandering BBC documentary with way too much emotional colorful prose and very little information. Way too much time is wasted with words dripping with that type of edge of your seat emotional plucking that's is more "don't touch that dial" feel of scripted television than a deep dive into a historical world of skilled labor and production.

I know far far too much about the author's personal life in comparison to the information gleaned about traditional craft and industry.

I will listen to books like this over and over again usually, but this one is hard to listen to even once.

3 people found this helpful

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yes!

A perfect mix of idealism, archeology and nostagia. Delivering food for thought and something to contemplate whilst executing my own craeft (pottery).

It strikes a chord that I have felt but rarely heard expressed.

I like all of it but perhaps some might feel the more idealistic and philosophical first and last chapter enough and the substantial middle bit to lengthy..

3 people found this helpful

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importan knowled shared through storytelling.

extremely fascinating book. we all need to be reminded of our ancestral knowledge. I feel it's important that modern generations understand we still possess the tools, imagination and resources to learn and practice the concept of craft and will be healthier and more resilient for it.

2 people found this helpful

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Overall a good read with interesting topics

I enjoyed reading the book. it's filled with interesting tidbits of information that I would have never known or thought to look up. Learning about the various history of the crafts described in this book has deepened my appreciation of the handmade and the maker. My only criticism is that some crafts felt like they were skimmed over in the book, such as ceramics. But overall, I'm glad I read it.

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Just One Criticism

Every detail description of what the author personally goes thru by explaining the process of a particular cræft is meditative. Relaxing to listen to and will engage one to focus on their own activity or craft.

The only thing that ruffles my feathers are that the chapters are not labelled in this audiobook. A simple fix, I hope.

Overall, this was a good find and happy to have it in my Audible Library.

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thought provoking

philosophical, yet historically detailed. inspires me to excel in my cræft, to think about my choices and actions