The Shock of the Old: Technology in Global History Since 1900

The Shock of the Old: Technology in Global History Since 1900


By (author) David Edgerton

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 234mm x 32mm | 558g
  • Publication date: 7 December 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1861972962
  • ISBN 13: 9781861972965
  • Sales rank: 1,127,645

Product description

The first proper global account of the place of technology in twentieth century history, this brilliant, thought-provoking book will radically revise our understanding of the relationship between technology and society. Whereas standard histories of technology give tired old accounts of the usual inventions - planes, bombs - "The Shock of the Old" is based on a different idea. Its thrust is that for the full picture of the history of technology we need to know not about what a few people invented, but about what everyday people used - and when they actually used things, if it was a long time after invention. It, therefore, reassesses the significance of, for example, the Pill and IT, and shows the continued importance of technology, such as corrugated iron and sewing machines. In taking this approach, "The Shock of the Old" challenges the idea that we live in an era of ever increasing change and so dismisses naivetes about 'the information age'. Interweaving political, economic and cultural history, it will show what it means to think critically about technology and its importance.

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Author information

Born in Montevideo in 1959, David Edgerton is one of Britain's leading historians, and has challenged conventional analyses of technology for 20 years. Currently the Hans Rausing Professor at Imperial College London, he writes for the broadsheet press and is a regular on television and radio. He lives in London.

Review quote

"So the new is old, and the old is new! Edgerton is a splendid corrective to all victims of technodazzle and neophilia. Marvellous stuff, and absolutely spot-on." Simon Jenkins"