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Leonardo to the Internet

Technology and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present

Thomas J. Misa

third edition
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Now updated — A comprehensive, 500-year history of technology in society.

Historian Thomas J. Misa's sweeping history of the relationship between technology and society over the past 500 years reveals how technological innovations have shaped—and have been shaped by—the cultures in which they arose. Spanning the preindustrial past, the age of scientific, political, and industrial revolutions, as well as the more recent eras of imperialism, modernism, and global security, this compelling work evaluates what Misa calls "the question of technology."

In this edition, Misa brings his acclaimed text…

Now updated — A comprehensive, 500-year history of technology in society.

Historian Thomas J. Misa's sweeping history of the relationship between technology and society over the past 500 years reveals how technological innovations have shaped—and have been shaped by—the cultures in which they arose. Spanning the preindustrial past, the age of scientific, political, and industrial revolutions, as well as the more recent eras of imperialism, modernism, and global security, this compelling work evaluates what Misa calls "the question of technology."

In this edition, Misa brings his acclaimed text up to date by drawing on current scholarship while retaining sharply drawn portraits of individual people, artifacts, and systems. Each chapter has been honed to relate to contemporary concerns. Globalization, Misa argues, looks differently considering today's virulent nationalism, cultural chauvinism, and trade wars. A new chapter focuses on the digital age from 1990 to 2016. The book also examines how today's unsustainable energy systems, insecure information networks, and vulnerable global shipping have helped foster geopolitical risks and instability and takes a look at the coronavirus pandemic from the perspective of Wuhan, China's high-tech district.

A masterful analysis of how technology and culture have influenced each other over five centuries, Leonardo to the Internet frames a history that illuminates modern-day problems and prospects faced by our technology-dependent world.

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Leonardo to the Internet

Thomas J. Misa

third edition
Publication Date
Binding Type
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Reviews

Reviews

A powerful pick for any library interested in a scholarly yet lively survey of connections between science and culture.

An engaging and worthy study of the interaction of technology and culture over the last 560 years... Misa's excellent study can contribute much to such critical circumspection regarding technology, human reason and choices, and the purposes and possibilities of human thriving and communal life.

Closely reasoned, reflective, and written with insight, grace, and wit, Misa's book takes us on a personal tour of technology and history, seeking to define and analyze paradigmatic techno-cultural eras.

This review cannot do justice to the precision and grace with which Misa analyzes technologies in their social contexts. He convincingly demonstrates the usefulness of his conceptual model.

Follows [Thomas] Hughes's model of combining an engaging historical narrative with deeper lessons about technology.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
448
ISBN
9781421443102
Illustration Description
32 b&w photos, 28 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. Technologies of the Court, 1450–1600
Chapter 2. Techniques of Commerce, 1588–1740
Chapter 3. Geographies of Industry, 1740–1851
Chapter 4

List of Figures and Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. Technologies of the Court, 1450–1600
Chapter 2. Techniques of Commerce, 1588–1740
Chapter 3. Geographies of Industry, 1740–1851
Chapter 4. Instruments of Empire, 1840–1914
Chapter 5. Science and Systems, 1870–1930
Chapter 6. Materials of Modernism, 1900–1950
Chapter 7. The Means of Destruction, 1936–1990
Chapter 8. Promises of Global Culture, 1970–2001
Chapter 9. Paths to Insecurity, 2001–2010
Chapter 10. Dominance of the Digital, 1990–2016
Chapter 11. The Question of Technology
Notes
Essay on Sources
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Thomas J. Misa

Thomas J. Misa (LOPEZ ISLAND, WA) is the author or coauthor of many books, including A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America, 1865–1925 and FastLane: Managing Science in the Internet World.