THE SHOCK OF THE OLD
Technology and Global History Since 1900

DAVID EDGERTON
288pp 27 ILLUS 2006 OUT OF PRINT N101

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£6.95

Description
We are awash in clichéd claims about high technology's ability to change the course of history. Edgerton here radically revises our ideas about the interaction of technology and society and underscores the importance of unheralded and mundane discoveries. Modern technology, he says, is not just a matter of electricity, mass production, aerospace, nuclear power and the internet. It also involves the rickshaw, the horse, synthetic petrol, tractors, cement, DDT, flat-pack furniture and the refrigerator. Indeed, many highly touted technologies have been costly failures while, for example, corrugated iron’s cheapness, lightness, ease of use and long life have made it a ubiquitous, global material. The book dispels misplaced futurism and posits a new way of looking at our world, focusing on what people actually use. Our lives consist of semper cedentia retro: always going forwards backwards.