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Rebels Against The Future: The Luddites And Their War On The Industrial Revolution: Lessons For The Computer Age
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Rebels Against The Future: The Luddites And Their War On The Industrial Revolution: Lessons For The Computer Age

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Kirkpatrick Sale is at the tumultuous center of a technology backlash, actively challenging Bill Gates on the one hand and the Unabomber on the other. The subject of bets, barbs, and grudging praise in the pages of WIRED, The New York Times, Newsweek, and The New Yorker, Rebels Against the Future takes us back to the first technology backlash, the short-lived and fierce Lu ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 17th 1996 by Basic Books (first published 1995)
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Paul
The Luddites were a loose confederation of textile workers living in 1800s England (in the same area where Robin Hood became famous) who saw their way of life destroyed by the coming of technology.

They worked out of their cottages or small craft shops. There was pride in their work. There was no boss or time clock to consider, so there were occasional ale breaks. They weren’t rich by any means, but, being part of a centuries-old tradition, they made a living. Machines came along which allowed on
...more
Shaun
May 01, 2008 Shaun rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shaun by: my web design teacher in college (!)
This is a well researched account of the brief and incredible Luddite uprising in England during the Industrial Revolution (specifically attributed to events between Nov. 1811 - Jan. 1813 in central England). Sale does a fine job of illustrating the rapid degradation in the lives of the working class in England during the rise of the mechanized workplace, and gives a compelling argument for the frustration and desperation that led people to band together to destroy the new machines which had put ...more
Simon
This jam was well-written and painstakingly researched. If you ever wanted to know more about Luddites, this is the place to go. Summation: a working class being displaced by the oncoming industrial revolution in England destroy burgeoning technology that poses a threat to their livelihoods. The intricacies of the authorities' clamp down on the Luddites and the Luddites tenacity and callous courage are what make the book truly compelling. As far as the "lessons for the computer age" go, Sale sto ...more
Brooks
This is a history of the Luddite Rebel in England in 1812 with three chapters tacked on about how this applies to current technology trends. King (or General or Ned) Luddite was a fictional leader of the rebellion. All letters and threats were in his name but no such person can be identified nor the exact origin of the term. The cottage industry of weavers and spinners was rapidly being replaced by factories in the midlands area of England with upwards of 100,000 workers replaced by factories hi ...more
Rob
Originally picked up this book due to my interest the history of the Luddite Movement and to that extent the book was quite good and well researched. However, the book also includes sections on the applications of the lessons of which, given the book's original publication in 1995, has not aged well in the intervening years with the rise of the internet. Ultimately the authors basic thesis that improvements in technology leads to a upheaval in industry and the loss of jobs as they are replaced b ...more
Kat
An interesting combination of History Of British Luddites 1811-1813 and Neo-Luddite Manifesto. Has an excessively romantic view of pre-industrial societies, at least (specifically) where the Amish are concerned, although I have no first-hand experience of the other groups he mentions. The history part is well-researched and thorough; the Luddites were a fascinating movement that not a lot of people really know about--apart from the ubiquitous anti-technology epithet that has as much to do with t ...more
6655321
If there were a (10th or 15th Anniversary) Edition of this that cut the entire second half out of the book (that is: Chapters 8, 9 & 10) this book would be vastly improved for it. I think Sale's project (showing a historical continuity between Luddites and proto-anti-civ mostly anti-certainthingstheydon'tlikeaboutmodernity groups) is laudable but the 1995 publication date makes it really drag (especially cause he takes a pretty watered down mothership earth approach to his anti-tech in the l ...more
John
Interesting discussion but enjoyed the history of the movement anyway
Celici
I read this for research and was surprised to find that it flowed more like a story than a dull retelling of the Luddite past. Kirkpatrick Sale does an excellent job of reeling the reader in by dangling the personal stories of people at that time and displaying them in a fascinating light. I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the Luddites, whether it's required reading or for your own enjoyment and knowledge.
Ryan Mishap
The telling is a bit disjointed, but an overall good history of the luddites and the rise of industrial capitalism. The second half of the book details the 2nd industrial revolutions--the computer age--and this is well worth reading.
Rick
Pretty interesting stuff, but Sale gets a little carried away with his modern-day, computer-age comparisons. I was much more interested and entertained by his actually history and less so by his commentary.
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“It was the task of industrial society to destroy all of that. All that "community" implies -- self-sufficiency, mutual aid, morality in the marketplace, stubborn tradition, regulation by custom, organic knowledge instead of mechanistic science -- had to be steadily and systematically disrupted and displaced. All of the practices that kept the individual from being a consumer had to be done away with so that the cogs and wheels of an unfettered machine called "the economy" could operate without interference, influenced merely by invisible hands and inevitable balances and all the rest of that benevolent free-market system guided by what Cobbett called, his lip curled toward Hume and James Steuart and Adam Smith, "Scotch Feelosophy.” 3 likes
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