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Networks of Power

'Networks of Power' cover image

Networks of Power

Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930

Awarded the Dexter Prize by the Society for the History of Technology

A unique comparative history of the evolution of modern electric power systems, Networks of Power not only provides an accurate representation of large-scale technological change but also demonstrates that technology itself cannot be understood or directed unless placed in a cultural context. For Thomas Highes, both the invention of the simplest devices (like the lightbuld itself) and the execution of the grandest schemes (such as harnessing the water power of the Bavarian Alps) fit into an overaching model of technological devleopment. His narrative is an absorbing account of the creative genius, scientific achievements, engineering capabilities, managerial skills, and entrepreneurial risks behind one of the most commonplace amenities of the modern age.