Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artifice Vs. Artifact, July 9, 2004
By 
David A Kovacs (Plattsburgh, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This is modern archaeology at its best. John Lienhard writes a thoughtful, moving book encircling our history through the eyes of an engineer. Inventing Modern traces the watershed inventions of the twentieth century, cataloguing their importance in the arc of our civilization. Without invention, the author argues, there are no artifacts of history. Taking a scientist's erudite perspective and infusing it with a healthy dose of playfulness and an artless sense of history, Lienhard tells us what it is to be American, modern, nuclear, analog, and even digital. Lienhard sees invention with a sense of irony, tragedy and pure joy. "Inventing" is not a dialectic dismantling of our Dionysian times but rather a surprising and hopeful and even dreamy look at the (recent past and) future of civilization from the perspective of a crafty engineer unafraid to stare down that elusive American improvisational spirit. You can read Arthur C.Clarke for fantasies of an alter-universe, but to get down to the nuts and bolts of the history and the scholarly soul of the space elevator project (for example) currently in its planning stages off the coast of the Pacific, read Lienhard. His is a most eloquent telling- an optimistic, un-patronizing work with a very strong vision of mankind's makings.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Overall View, October 16, 2004
By 
Lienhard's book is a personal account of the age of Modern, a term he defines as more a state of mind than an actual event or time. The operative word is personal. It is difficult to fully interpret biographical events as part of the epoch-changing phenomenon he calls "Modern".

"Modern", which began in the 19th century, affected not only the physical world but how we viewed that world. The author opines as to how an object or idea is either pre, post or actually modern. The range - from architecture to art to war to electricity and inventions - cover the gambit.

Lienhard believes "Modern" denotes a societal mindset, one we no longer possess. He is absolutely correct. Our society is awash in waves of data that can be neither integrated nor understood. Our spirit (for lack of a better word) is unlike the Modern pioneers. We've lost our innocence, our belief that technology will better our lives. Nor do we seek knowledge for its own sake. This is illustrated by popular myths: The environment is degrading, the economy is collapsing, chemicals are lethal, life is drugery, etc. The facts are, the UN again rated the US #1 for clean water and safe food, we are richer than ever, we have unprecedented free time and access to virtually any entertainment, news or information at our fingertips. In this post-modern age, the cry is for something different.

The author IS correct that "Modern" stopped in the 1950's. We define "modern architecture" as Frank Lloyd Wright, "modern art" as Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko, "modern cars" as snazzy Vets. Yet biotechnology, space travel and new inventions may usher in a new age he calls "Expanded". Recommended for serious readers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Many Interesting, enlightening looks at our modern age, October 5, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The author sets the time frame of the modern age and tells us what he believes created and constituted the idea of
"modern." The stories he tells about what he considers key aspects of our modern times are very well told, very enlightening and give you some new, thought-provoking insights into our lives and culture. And whether you agree with his definition of modern and how he seeks to prove it, you will find his examples of modern worth reading all by themselves.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars This book brings it all together!, August 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have a cousin who teaches literature at a small college. She has developed a course that brings together history, art, literature, and technology and tries to establish the relationship between all of these. This book does just that and I intend to send her a link so that she can read it. If you are interested in history and the effect of technology on society will enjoy this book very much. There were several times in reading this book I said to myself "NOW I understand!" Read it and most likely you will to.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
thumbs up
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Inventing Modern: Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins
Inventing Modern: Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins by John H. Lienhard (Paperback - June 9, 2005)
$31.95 $24.31
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.