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Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America
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Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Historians have long assumed that new industrial machines and power sources eliminated work animals from nineteenth-century America, yet a bird's-eye view of nineteenth-century society would show millions of horses supplying the energy necessary for industrial development. Horses were ubiquitous in cities and on farms, providing power for transportation, construction, manu ...more
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published November 30th 2008 by Harvard University Press
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Michael
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, history
Absolutely fascinating look at the spectrum of issues that led to the meteoric rise and equally large fall of horses as "prime movers" in the American energy economy between about 1800 and 1920. Valuable not only for its look at equine roles in industrializing society, but also the development of transportation infrastructure, animal breeding, professionalized engineering and veterinary medicine, animal welfare, and more.
Michael
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If I were to write (or read) a book on any subject I would want it to be a thorough and insightful as Greene's work. She writes the history of the horse as the technology that bridged the gap between the juggernaut steam engine that powered trains, ships, and big factories and small scale human-motor that had always served man.

The casual reader may see this book as ONLY about horses in the 19th century, but the book reveals SO MUCH MORE about man's relationship with technology in any generation.
...more
Samuel
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ann Greene focuses on horsepower and horse culture as energy technologies in a spellbinding way that makes one think long and hard about our contemporary use of terms such as "horsepower" or the "iron horse." While it would be easy to say that horses were rendered obsolete by mechanization--particularly the car, Greene demonstrates why this assumption is a bit presumptuous--there is a story to tell here that restores horses to their impressive role in industrialization (rather than a replacement ...more
Kristen
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So far extremely interesting history of how the horse was chosen during the beginning of industrial America as the machine of choice for power and stature. Touches on some interesting arguments for mules, oxen and camels.
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