Previously, commenter Jonathan recommended James Burke's "Connections". I'd forgotten until now when I looked to buy it, but I had a high school science teacher who used to put on "Connections" whenever he was too hungover to lecture, and I (and my classmates) were absolutely mesmerized. Later in life, I've never been able to remember the name of that series -- so thanks Jon! "Connections" tells how inventions from thousands of years ago led to more inventions in Medieval times to inventions which led to the Industrial Revolution to the present... It's fascinating stuff.
BTW, I've noticed it's downloadable on the pirate's bay, although i'm not advocating software piracy (at least not without having installed Peer Guardian 2 first...)...
19 minutes ago