"'Remarkable' is an adjective that is most appropriate for this study. Broad in interpretation, rich in detail, and supported by a wealth of information, Michael Adas's work will command the attention of every scholar of modern imperialism, every student of the broad subject of 'technology.' . . . Adas offers an example of popular history at its very best, which is cultural history exquisitely constructed of detailed research, a well-designed overarching theme, and nicely polished prose. . . . It will long be pivotal in all discussions that revolve around the technology and culture of modern European expansion. In sum, this is a most compelling, splendid book."―American Historical Review
"Provocative and fascinating. . . . Adas's deft use of quotation gives the missionaries, travelers, explorers, administrators, and teachers their authentic voices. He provides a wealth of documentation. One learns things worth knowing on every page. . . . One leaves Machines as the Measure of Men persuaded by its essential analysis: that mastery of nature lay at the heart of Europe's comparison of itself to others. As an intellectual history of French and British assessments of Africa, China, and India, the book is wonderfully informative and nuanced. It will alter the debate about the history of Europe's relationship to the rest of the world."―New York Times Book Review
"The terrain of Adas's magnificent book is vast. He starts with the first encounters of intrepid European explorers in the seventeenth century and ends with the seeds of doubt which the Great War in Europe sowed in the western civilizing process. . . . A vast range of sources are cited. Alternatives to the predominant ideology of western scientific and technological progress are explored, and the potential for diffusion of science and technology into different third world societies is also illuminated."―Times Higher Education Supplement
"A remarkable book that thoroughly recasts our understanding of the colonial encounter. Adas dissects the ideology that underwrote the imperial hubris of Northern Europe with rare breadth and insights."―James C. Scott, Yale University
About the Author
Michael Adas is Abraham E. Voorhees Professor of History and Board of Governors' Chair at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He is the author most recently of Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission.