Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact (Technical Revolutions and Their Lasting Impact)
Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact (Technical Revolutions and Their Lasting Impact)
Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact (Technical Revolutions and Their Lasting Impact)
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Price: $21.60 FREE for Members
Type: eBook
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Page Count: 362
Format: pdf
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195168747
ISBN-13: 9780195168747
User Rating: 5.0000 out of 5 Stars! (2 Votes)

Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact (Technical Revolutions and Their Lasting Impact) free


Vaclav Smil free



"[Smil's] scholarship mocks the boundaries that separate history from economics, geography from technology studies. He is unusually adept at combining his knowledge of how techniques actually work with his ability to illustrate their overall effects on society and the human condition.
The amount of pure learning and erudition that Smil brings to these 700 pages has to be experienced to be believed. In telling the story of modern technology since 1870 in a coherent way these 700 pages totally eclipse the competition."--Joel Mokyr, Departments of Economics and History, Northwestern University


"For readers interested in a good summary of the key technical developments of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they will find much to value in Smil's book."--American Historical Review



Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba, and the author of 19 books, including Feeding the World (MIT Press, 2000), Enriching the Earth: Transformation of World Food Production (MIT Press 2001), and Energy at the Crossroads (MIT Press 2003).

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| 5 out of 5 Stars!


I sampled this book on a whim on my Kindle and then bought the whole thing, even though it was a steep $20 plus. Smil does an excellent job describing how critical technologies such as electrical transmission, motors, and lighting actually evolved, far beyond the Edison-invented-the-lightbulb stories we have all heard. I am just a couple of chapters in, but I am confident in saying if you are leaning towards buying this book, you probably should. He goes into more detail than you may want concerning such things as the efficiency of various electrical technologies, yet somehow he makes the story of leaps and steady improvements rather mesmerizing.

Quite striking is his major thesis that the technological revolution before WWI was sui generis, a singularity in its own right. He explains how the technologies developed then are still very much with us and unlikely to be superceded anytime soon. This is a good antidote to the presentism of the Age of Information and AI enthusiasts. Unless you are already an engineer, you are likely to learn a lot about basic technologies we take for granted. IP lawyers may also find the various patent struggles of interest.

| 5 out of 5 Stars!


I was in Powell's technical book store not looking for anything in particular, when I found exactly what I was looking for! I've always been interested in the history of technology, but often the books/articles seem to miss the big picture. Smil gets the big picture, and presents it in an accessible fashion. He puts an interesting perspective on many of the inventions that you are familiar with, and some that you are not-- providing a thorough discussion on energy related topics, as well as covering steel making and the Haber-Bosch process. His writing has an interesting personal perspective, and he provides detailed documentation and interesting illustrations. What a wonderful book. A must read for anyone interested in technology, and the history behind many of the things we now take for granted.

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