By Robert Friedel

Why does expertise swap over the years, how does it switch, and what distinction does it make? during this sweeping, formidable examine one thousand years of Western event, Robert Friedel argues that technological switch comes principally throughout the pursuit of development -- the deep-rooted trust that issues can be performed in a greater manner. What Friedel calls the "culture of development" is manifested each day within the methods humans perform their projects in existence -- from tilling fields and elevating childrens to waging war.Improvements could be ephemeral or lasting, and one person's development would possibly not continually be seen as such via others. Friedel stresses the social procedures wherein we outline what advancements are and choose which advancements will final and so as to now not. those tactics, he emphasizes, have created either winners and losers in history.Friedel provides a chain of narratives of Western know-how that start within the 11th century and stretch into the twenty-first. common figures from the heritage of invention are joined via others -- the Italian preacher who defined the 1st eyeglasses, the dairywomen displaced from their keep an eye on over cheesemaking, and the little-known engineer who first recommended a grand tower to Gustav Eiffel. Friedel strains expertise from the plow and the printing press to the inner combustion engine, the transistor, and the distance trip. Friedel additionally reminds us that religion in development can occasionally have awful outcomes, as enhanced weaponry makes war ever extra lethal and the force for bettering humans may end up in eugenics or even genocide. the main entire try and inform the tale of Western know-how in lots of years, engagingly written and lavishly illustrated, A tradition of development documents the ways that the force for development has formed our glossy world.

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A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western Millennium (MIT Press) by Robert Friedel

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