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American Technological Sublime Paperback – February 28, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (February 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262640341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262640343
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Americans have a unique relationship to all levels of technology, one that has also changed over time. Nye (Electrifying America, MIT Pr., 1990) explores this "technological sublime" in a history of technology based not in engineering but as one "concerned with the social context of technology." Chapters cover specific technologies, for example, bridges or the atomic bomb. Nye's insightful use of Fourth of July celebrations, world's fairs, and centenaries is particularly effective. The concluding chapter, "Consumer's Sublime," indicates that our technological relationship is headed in a new direction. Skillfully written and easily read, this is recommended for all collections and is essential for history of science collections.
Michael D. Cramer, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ. Libs., Blacksburg
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"David Nye always has something interesting and suggestive tosay about the role of technology in American culture and society.American Technological Sublime is...a book that can beprofitably and enjoyably read by specialists and general readersalike. It is an estimable piece of historical interpretationand writing and deserves a wide readership." David Nasaw, Boston Globe


More About the Author

David E. Nye's publications focus on technology and American society. He was born in Boston but spent his childhood in rural Pennsylvania. He was educated at Amherst College and the University of Minnesota. He has taught in both the United States and Europe, and he has lectured in every western European country. Author or editor of 20 books, he has won grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Leverhulme Foundation, and national research councils in Denmark and Holland. He has appeared on NOVA, the BBC, and Danish television, and has been a visiting scholar at the universities of Cambridge, Leeds, Harvard, MIT, Warwick, Oviedo, and Notre Dame. In 2005 he received the Leonardo da Vinci Medal, the lifetime achievement award and highest honor of the Society for the History of Technology. His most recent book, America's Assembly Line, will appear with MIT Press in 2013.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I use David Nye's text as one my assigned readings in the History of Technology course I am teaching at the local community college. It is good at giving more than a simple description of technology or of technological development and change over time, but rather provides an insight that involves the sociological, psychological, philosophical and even spiritual at times. The idea of the sublime is an interesting one, one that relates not only to things technological nor to things American, but when these concepts are put together, it produces a unique creation.

David Nye is not only a follower of Leo Marx, but was in fact one of his students, so it makes sense that there is a strong influence in method and content. Nye credits Leo Marx with the term `technological sublime', and worked later to apply it in different ways to the development in the course of American history.

`If any man-made object can be called sublime, surely the Golden Gate Bridge can. ... Icon of San Francisco and constantly featured on travel posters, postcards and brochures, it has become an instantly recognizable landmark. Yet, like every sublime object, this magnificent piece of civil engineering cannot be comprehended through words and images alone. When visited, it outstrips expectations.'

Nye develops certain key elements and icons such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the electric city-scape at night, and even developments such as nuclear weapons and space travel as examples of the sublime. These things creep into our consciousness and influence the way other things become part of the sublime, as Nye's final chapter on the consumer's sublime indicates.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
I use David Nye's text as one my assigned readings in the History of Technology course I am teaching at the local community college. It is good at giving more than a simple description of technology or of technological development and change over time, but rather provides an insight that involves the sociological, psychological, philosophical and even spiritual at times. The idea of the sublime is an interesting one, one that relates not only to things technological nor to things American, but when these concepts are put together, it produces a unique creation.

David Nye is not only a follower of Leo Marx, but was in fact one of his students, so it makes sense that there is a strong influence in method and content. Nye credits Leo Marx with the term `technological sublime', and worked later to apply it in different ways to the development in the course of American history.

`If any man-made object can be called sublime, surely the Golden Gate Bridge can. ... Icon of San Francisco and constantly featured on travel posters, postcards and brochures, it has become an instantly recognizable landmark. Yet, like every sublime object, this magnificent piece of civil engineering cannot be comprehended through words and images alone. When visited, it outstrips expectations.'

Nye develops certain key elements and icons such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the electric city-scape at night, and even developments such as nuclear weapons and space travel as examples of the sublime. These things creep into our consciousness and influence the way other things become part of the sublime, as Nye's final chapter on the consumer's sublime indicates.
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12 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Rob Wilson on May 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a useful book, full of scope and sway, but marred in my reading by being written (too uncritically) from within the techno-euphoria and liberal pieties of American Studies confirming what is so exceptional and blessed about being American. As such, it is a book more about American pastoral (a la Leo Marx) than about the traumas and will to imperial and global domination of the sublime but David Nye is too much of a devoted Marxian and Americanist to realize this is so. Anyway, read it and be amazed a la Whitman or Kerouac, dear reader, at the Broadway lights and the Hoover Dam!
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