Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Johannes Gutenberg: Inventor of the Printing Press

Johannes Gutenberg: Inventor of the Printing Press

Fran Rees
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 10 to 12
Compass Point Books, 2006   ISBN: 978-0756509897

Johannes Gutenberg was undoubtedly a brilliant man. He was also persistent and determined. When he was young Johannes worked with his father in the mint in Mainz. His work manipulating metals would come in useful later in life when he went on pursue his great dream. What Johannes wanted to do was to be able to print books in large numbers, beautiful books which would bring the written word to all kinds of people. Before the invention of the printing press books had to be hand written by scribes. This was a very long process and it made books expensive and beyond the means of the average person. Johannes wanted to change this so he set about trying to create a press and a system which would make it possible to print many books in a relatively short period of time.

It took Johannes much time and money to get his invention ready. Johannes wanted to build a machine that would make books that were as good if not better than the ones that were written out by scribes. Johannes was often without sufficient funds and his job was made all the more difficult because he was living in unsettled times. He had to take out loans to help pay for his work. One of the people who loaned him money was a business man called Johannes Fust. Just when Johannes Gutenberg was almost ready, Johannes Fust demanded the return of his money. He took the matter to court and won. Before poor Johannes Gutenberg could fully comprehend what was happening to him, Fust seized all the equipment, the books, and the paper. Fust and his assistant claimed the invention of the printing press for themselves but thankfully Johannes Gutenberg?s great contribution to mankind was not forgotten and to this day he is given the credit he is due for his remarkable achievements.

It is hard to imagine life without books and the printed word. Johannes Gutenberg?s invention had a profound effect on the lives of the people living in the Renaissance and it certainly helped change the course of history. The author tells the story of this great man very well. She also paints a picture of the years at beginning of the Renaissance in such a way that the reader gets a clear picture of what it must have been like to live in those fascinating times.

This is one of the titles in the "Signature Lives" series.