The cover of my review copy of To Forgive Design has a vaguely gustatory theme. The photo on the front shows the inside of an egg carton, with one egg cracked; on the back, there’s an effusive blurb comparing structural engineering to, of all things, dentistry. So it seems somehow appropriate to mention that when I first sat down to read the book, I had just had a severely humiliating experience while trying to eat a sandwich.
The cause of the accident lay in a complex interplay of contributing factors: ketchup-soaked bun, slippery deli meat, favourite T-shirt. Henry Petroski takes a broad enough view of his subject that I imagine he’d consider my sandwich a worthy object of analysis. After reading his extensive case studies of engineering