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Companion Books

Book Review a Companion to American Technology,

Title of the book, A Companion to American Technology, explains very briefly three points which I am to explain a little more elaborately. First of all, this book is a companion book, therefore we can’t expect many details about the issue, thus this book is a compact, all-inclusive and comprehensive one.

Second, this book has a chronological view to American technology, as it is one of the books of a series which are published by Blackwell about American history such as 19 th century America and, 20th century America. Thus in order to do this important job as well as it is possible , the editor Carroll Pursell, who is chair of history department at Case Western Reserve University ,gathers a group of historians of different fields to write about history of technology in America from the eighteenth century up until the present day .

Hence as the writers are experts in different fields ,this book is the interaction spot of technology with many aspects of American society including environment, science engineering ,government, gender, labor, culture ,art and so on . Therefore articles which are gathered in 435 pages in five parts, including twenty

two chapters ,don’t explain details but they review briefly and comprehensively history of technology and its impact on society ,art ,culture and conversely,

Third and finally as the title concentrates content, this book is about technology, but what the definition of technology in this book is. According to different contributors of this book, technology has different definitions, from airplane and nuclear technology to photography and music. In each section, every contributing author highlights his or her analysis about technology with dates and examples as well as references to a range of different sources.

In particular, different contributors approach technology from a variety of perspectives and emphasize on an array of themes. They explain how necessity of society or creativity of innovator causes innovation ,consequently how technologies shape culture ,and as new technologies don’t have the same effect everywhere, how they have impact on America, what the predominant role that technology has played within the American social context is and finally and simultaneously how culture shapes events even more than technologies .

For instance ,Henry Adams, professor of American art, contributor of chapter twenty one; art and technology, explains about the role of the engineer and how society views technology through art and how technology can actually be considered an art form.

Jeffrey R.Yost who is professor of scientific computing history, explains the role of systems in anything from the development of nuclear technology to the internet; and finally, look beyond scientific discovery to explain technology’s role in creating large systems.

David E .Nye author of many books on technology and American culture explains that how new machines emerge from political and social contexts and can be used for hegemonic ends.

Rebecca Herzig who teaches courses on the history and sociology of science and technology in woman and gender studies, explains that how public toilets

represent an attempt to follow “norms of gender” ,in fact writer examine the results of the intersection of technology and gender .

Nevertheless, this book with an interdisciplinary character is a very useful tool in bringing technology into the process of understanding the history of USA and simultaneously grasp of technology itself.

In better word, Pursell manages to influence readers ‘approach about technology and understand technological progress and development with the examination of past as well as current technological practices,

Consequently ,this well-organized book help readers to realize the material in-depth and encourage them to compare sources and follow twenty two chapters in order to understand different approaches about technology as well as its history in the US.

Thus ,as this book is a professional reference and companion book , is suitable and helpful for American History American Studies and cultural studies students as well as professors in the same area of research , also it can be used as a good textbook. However as it is clearly-written one, it can be useful for others.

About the Author

Mitra Naeimi MA student of North American Studies,Institute of North American and European Studies -Tehran University

Dustin Meyer Photography Companion Books!

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