The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900 – David Edgerton
Interesting, alternate look at the history of technology, which is often dominated by paeans to the latest and greatest gee-whiz technology. This book argues that it is often the relatively mundane technologies have the largest and longest impact. Actual manufacture, implementation and maintenance, rather than breathless announcements of new innovations are what count. Many things we use are very old, and many things that are invented are never actually used. Not many people regard corrugated iron as a very exciting technology, but in terms of how long it has been used, and how much has been sold all over the world, it is very important. For all the promises of jet-packs and flying cars, bicycles are still going strong, 200 years later, constantly updated and improved, and in use globally. Many people the world over are employed in maintaining and improving older technologies, but their contribution to the greater good are overlooked in the headlong rush to praise the newest invention.
It certainly provokes thought, even if I thought it was a little plodding and scattered in places. And his anti-American slant was tedious and predictable.