A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western by Robert Friedel PDF

By Robert Friedel

Why does expertise switch through the years, how does it swap, and what distinction does it make? during this sweeping, formidable examine 1000 years of Western event, Robert Friedel argues that technological swap comes principally in the course of the pursuit of development -- the deep-rooted trust that issues will be performed in a greater means. What Friedel calls the "culture of development" is manifested on a daily basis within the methods humans perform their initiatives in lifestyles -- from tilling fields and elevating kids to waging war.Improvements might be ephemeral or lasting, and one person's development would possibly not regularly be seen as such via others. Friedel stresses the social strategies through which we outline what advancements are and judge which advancements will final and on the way to now not. those methods, he emphasizes, have created either winners and losers in history.Friedel offers a sequence of narratives of Western know-how that commence within the 11th century and stretch into the twenty-first. commonplace figures from the historical past of invention are joined by way of others -- the Italian preacher who defined the 1st eyeglasses, the dairywomen displaced from their regulate over cheesemaking, and the little-known engineer who first urged a grand tower to Gustav Eiffel. Friedel strains expertise from the plow and the printing press to the inner combustion engine, the transistor, and the distance travel. Friedel additionally reminds us that religion in development can occasionally have awful outcomes, as more desirable weaponry makes struggle ever extra lethal and the force for bettering people can result in eugenics or even genocide. the main finished try to inform the tale of Western expertise in lots of years, engagingly written and lavishly illustrated, A tradition of development documents the ways that the force for development has formed our glossy world.

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A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western Millennium (MIT Press) by Robert Friedel

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