Cipolla could write delicately and precisely when recounting
both tales drawn from his "smaller" enquiries (on money, epidemics, technology,
commerce) and major economic and social developments stretching over centuries.
One need only remember his studies of the plague, or his history of clocks and
naval and military inventions, or the vertiginous tale of Spanish silver in
the modern economy. Cipolla employed his story-telling skills even when writing
for newspapers, in which he used to publish special short texts based on research
or historical documents, or literary articles focusing on the history of currency
and the economy. This book gathers the best of these "extra-vagant" narratives
and offers the reader additional, surprising proof of this historian and writer's
Carlo M. Cipolla (1922-2000) taught at the
University of California, Berkeley and the University of Pisa's Scuola Normale
Superiore, as well as in the Universities of Venice, Turin and Pavia.