A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western - download pdf or read online

By Robert Friedel

Why does know-how switch through the years, how does it swap, and what distinction does it make? during this sweeping, formidable examine one thousand years of Western event, Robert Friedel argues that technological switch comes mostly in the course of the pursuit of development -- the deep-rooted trust that issues should be performed in a greater method. What Friedel calls the "culture of development" is manifested on a daily basis within the methods humans perform their projects in existence -- from tilling fields and elevating childrens to waging war.Improvements may be ephemeral or lasting, and one person's development won't continuously be seen as such by means of others. Friedel stresses the social strategies in which we outline what advancements are and judge which advancements will final and so one can 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. typical figures from the historical past of invention are joined through others -- the Italian preacher who defined the 1st eyeglasses, the dairywomen displaced from their keep watch over over cheesemaking, and the little-known engineer who first recommended a grand tower to Gustav Eiffel. Friedel lines know-how from the plow and the printing press to the inner combustion engine, the transistor, and the distance go back and forth. Friedel additionally reminds us that religion in development can occasionally have terrible effects, as enhanced weaponry makes conflict ever extra lethal and the force for bettering humans may end up in eugenics or even genocide. the main entire try to inform the tale of Western know-how in lots of years, engagingly written and lavishly illustrated, A tradition of development documents the ways that the force for development has formed our smooth world.

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


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