Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution Paperback – March 4, 2014
|New from||Used from|
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
A Wall Street Journal Best Business Book of the Year
The author is at his best when he focuses on the people behind the technology . Morris' research is thorough . Ambitious.”
Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief of ProPublica and former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal
Charles Morris, fast becoming our leading narrative historian of economic success and scandals, tells how nineteenth-century America outproduced, outmarketed, outdistributedand stole technology fromthe former No. 1 power, Great Britain, to displace it on the world stage. The fascinating tale also holds crucial lessons for Americans as China races to unseat the U.S. as the world leader.”
Charles H. Ferguson, director of Inside Job and author of Predator Nation
A fascinating book that pulls together the strands of American development into a sweeping and vivid account of the nation's rise to economic preeminence. Charles Morris has a special gift for making complicated subjects accessible and even entertaining.”
[A]n illuminating narrative that shows, among much else, what happened when Yankee ingenuity met the Industrial Revolution . Post-Civil War industrialization had an important and largely overlooked predecessor in the first decades of the 19th century. It is a story well worth telling, and Mr. Morris tells it well . The author's in-text illustrations and diagrams are very helpful in showing the cleverness and ingenuity of mechanisms designed by such forgotten giants as the clockmaker Eli Terry, the gun maker Thomas Blanchard and the steam-engine designer George H. Corliss. Mr. Morris's deft character sketches bring them to life as well. The steam engine powered the steamboat and the railroad, which knitted the country together into one huge common market, allowing industrial economies of scale that would, in the later 19th century, astonish the world .”
Civil EngineeringIn an elegantly written assessment of how the current situation is likeand unlikeits 19th-century analogue, Morris flashes the knowledge and insight that landed him on the Council on Foreign Relations and crafts an effective coda for his paean to American innovation.”
Michael Lind, New York Times Book Review
An unprecedented 3.9 percent average annual rate of economic growthsustained for more than a centurypropelled the U.S. to global economic leadership. Morris chronicles the remarkable story behind the remarkable number Morris concludes with a provocative comparison of the nineteenth-century duel pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and today's rivalry between China and the U.S. Economic history freighted with social and political relevance.”
USA TodayMorris obviously possesses an inquiring mind . [He] explicates developments skillfully.”
PublishersWeekly.comMorris's analysis shines brightest in the final chapter as he compares the United States' past economic growth with the current hyper-expansion of China. Only then, by examining the hurdles China faces in its ascendance to economic superpower, does Morris show how truly innovative the transformation of America was and why it will be impossible to repeat in the future.”
Tyler Cowen, New York Times Magazine, One-Page MagazineThe early 19th century as a pep talk for today.”
John Steele Gordon, Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Partly as a reaction to the blockades and taxes of the English, England's almost complete control of the market for goods, and the War of 1812, this country rebelled, looked around, and discovered it could mass-produce its own goods. Water power was everywhere, forests were there for the taking, minerals were hiding beneath the top soil, slave power was available, and immigrants' energy and independence were bursting at the seams.
The first chapter, about the War of 1812 battles between English and American ships on Lakes Erie and Ontario, serves as an introduction to the marvels of shipbuilding in a country which barely had a navy. The following chapters jump quickly into the fascinating development of America's great experiment: mass-production.
(Of special interest if you're buying a digital book [Kindle]: I bought this book on Nov. 21 for $9.57. Kindle is now charging $15.94. The hardback edition is still $19.)
I wish our present leaders would read this book to better understand present-day US competitiveness.
Here are some representative quotes from the book that explain the US role during the first Industrial Revolution:
* “The United States never disguised its avarice for British textile technology. It refused to recognize British patents, and American entrepreneurs openly advertised for British power-spinning experts, who were forbidden by law from emigrating.”
“American system of manufacturing.” -- meant manufacturing to an idealized model to such a level of precision that parts could be freely interchanged between weapons without loss of performance.”
* "British shipbuilding factories were the most advanced in the world, employing massive, very precise machines that mid-century Americans could not replicate. What was missing, perhaps, was the American instinct to push for scale, the conviction that the first objective of business should be to grow larger."
* “Over time, the act helped settle some 10 percent of the entire land mass of the United States. Senator Justin Morrill's (R-VT) 1862 land-grant college act awarded each state a bequest of public lands that it could sell to finance state colleges for the agricultural and industrial arts. No other country had conceived the notion of educating farmers and mechanics, and the Morrill Act schools are still the foundation of the state university system.”
You'll recognize many parallels with China's growth today.
"The Dawn of Innovation" is at its best when it fits the pieces of industry, economy, history, culture, and government together to form a cohesive picture of the transformative power of the industrial revolution. It is at its worst when it gets caught up in the details of how a gun barrel is made. It does not add to the larger narrative and it takes away (at least in my instance) the most important asset for an author - the reader's interest. Changes in tone and voice from chapter to chapter add to the muddle.
However, the many stories of industrial triumph and personal vignettes are interesting. The larger picture is definitely well explained. The book is clearly informative for anyone interested by the subject matter. Some chapters are quite comprehensive to the point where it could almost be considered a reference work. It is clear a great deal of thought and work went into creating every page.
This is a well researched, well written, interesting book. It's just a little bit confused about its identity.