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Technology: A World History (New Oxford World History) Paperback – April 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195338218 ISBN-10: 0195338219 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: New Oxford World History
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195338219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195338218
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Headrick restores a broad definition [of technology] that enhances the value of this wide-ranging survey....it suits the New Oxford World History series goals of highlighting major trends and stimulating thinking." -- Choice


About the Author


Daniel R. Headrick is Professor of History and Social Science at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By R. W. Levesque on April 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Daniel Headrick has provided a slim (179 pages including index, notes, etc.) overview of the history of technology, from the Stone Age through today. Essentially it's an executive summary of six thousand years of the history of technology (not counting the Stone Age as history).

This is the book's strength and weakness. The strength is that you can quickly read a top line review of the evolution of technology and the societies that invented or exploited it. He looks at where certain technologies were invented, how they moved from one civilization to another, and how they were exploited and by whom. Another good thing about the book is that although it's about technology the author addresses the fact that technology is not necessarily the driver in whether or not a civilization is successful. He points out that geography, climate, governments, religion, and peoples' attitudes towards technology often impact invention and exploitation.

At the same time he doesn't focus on any one civilization. He reviews technologies as they impacted, or not, all the major civilizations around the world. It's not Euro-centric, but it also goes beyond China and the Arabs to discuss early American and African civilizations - all at a very high level.

The weakness is that it lacks depth and rarely provides context. In fact, the last chapter, covering WWII through the present, is nothing more than a laundry list of technological advances in the last 70 years without any historical analysis or context. The author acknowledges that, "it is difficult to draw conclusions from events that are still happening," but it's almost as if it's an excuse to not provide any analysis of the period.

Is the book worth the money? Tough call....you either have to be very interested in the subject and have a desire to keep up with the literature, or you're new to the subject and want nothing more than an abridged version for you to to want to have this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angelina *Princess* on February 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The author has put a lot of effort in explaining everything about the topic and he is successful in it. This book proves very helpful for me as I learned a lot of new information from this book.

Book is written in very easy to understand language and I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in such topics.
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18 of 31 people found the following review helpful By James-philip Harries on July 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is hardly a book, it's a list. Further, it looks and feels like the user's manual of some over-designed computer gadget, complete with naff cover and hideous font. Sadly it does not switch to german or japanese half way through.
The author boasts of writing a world history as if the world was currently short of such things. So we learn (though not on the same page) that clay tablets were invented in Mesopotomia, papyrus in Egypt, paper in China, the printing press in Germany, the world wide web in Switzerland. We also learn that bipedalism and opposable thumbs were inventions rather than random mutations.Eh? Apparently language is also an invention, though some might say it was the result of freeing the throat through an upright stance.
The relentlessly chronological approach leaves no room for discussion of themes. What was the influence of the Domesday Book (surely one of the greatest ever inventions), the land registry, the Ordnance Survey? Without them property rights would hardly exist, so neither would ownership of ideas. The Patent Office is just assumed to be a good thing, but this is arguable. 95% of patents don't get exploited, improvements have to wait for the expiry of the master patent, some inventions (military ones) never are published, and the patenting process is ludicrously expensive and obscurantist. Why not simply replace it with a royalty board, which might at least protect Amazonian tribes who see no benefit from the current craze of big pharma to harvest every obscure plant in the rain forest in case it contains a useful (and synthesisable, patentable) chemical? These and many other questions are never addressed. The big question: how much technology is to thank or blame for our current wealth or ill; is never asked.
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Technology: A World History (New Oxford World History)
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