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Universalgeschichte der Zahlen. Übers. aus dem Französischen von Alexander von Platen. Red.: Peter Wanner. (Universal history of numbers). (German) Zbl 0606.01023
Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag. 580 S. DM 78.00 (1986).

This is the unaltered German translation of Ifrah’s well-known, originally French written ”From one to zero. Universal history of numbers” which appeared in 1981 for the first time. An English translation has been published in 1985 (see Zbl 0589.01001). It consists of seven sections (or 31 chapters) entitled Awareness of numbers, Concrete calculating methods. The invention of the figures, Figures and letters, Signs, figures and magic, Mysticism and fortune-telling, Mixed systems of figures, The last phase of writing numbers.

It is really a universal history of numbers, discussing all aspects of this fascinating field of knowledge. All human cultures are taken into account. There are 356 illustrations, figures, and diagrams. There can be no doubt that this book has outrivaled the first volume of K. Menninger’s book ”Zahlwort und Ziffer” (Zbl 0082.00516) which treats the same subject and appeared in 1958.

Reviewer: E.Knobloch

MSC:
01A05General histories, source books
01-02Research monographs (history)