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Leonardo to the Internet

Paperback
, 400 pages

54 b&w illus.

ISBN:
9781421401539
October 2013
$28.00

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Leonardo to the Internet

Technology and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present

second edition

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."

Misa brings his acclaimed text up to date by examining how today's unsustainable energy systems, insecure information networks, and vulnerable global shipping have helped foster geopolitical risks and instability. 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

Thomas J. Misa is director of the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota. His books include Managing Technology in Society; Modernity and Technology; Urban Machinery, Gender Codes: Why Women Are Leaving Computing; and the award-winning A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America, 1865–1925, the last also published by Johns Hopkins.

"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."

"His case studies, such as that of Italian futurism or the localizations of the global McDonalds, provide good starting points for thought and discussion."

"A fascinating, informative, and well-illustrated book."

"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."

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