Foxears's Reviews > Shock Of The Old: Technology and Global History since 1900

Shock Of The Old by David Edgerton
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Nov 04, 2014

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bookshelves: course-literature, owned-books

I read this for a course in history of technology. It is not a book I would read by myself, but I'm glad I powered through it. The book makes excellent points about the problem in how history of technology is told today (as a series of inventions). His point, that history is more complex than that, is an excellent one and he backs it up with several examples that goes against the common view we have today. The book is shocking (hence the title) on many areas and a lot of stuff you've been taken for granted ("that's just how it is") are proved wrong, or at least very unlikely, in Edgerton's book.

I think it is very important that more people get introduced to the ideas presented by Edgerton in this book, from historians to politicians. So that we can tell history more close to how it was, and make decisions that is based on concepts that actually works. For example Sweden's former minister for education, Jan Björklund, wanting to put a lot of money on research because it will help the economy, when, according to Edgerton, there is absolutely no relationship between what a country spends on R&D and its economical growth rate.

I'm convinced that a lot (not all) of what Edgerton is saying is true, but it is of course hard (if not impossible) to change the way you think right away. This book has really been eye-opening for me, and I will recommend it to anyone interested in reading about a different view on history of technology. The reason I gave the book only 3/5 stars is because of the way the book is written. It is very heavy with examples, which in one way is good, but every once in a while there are examples that seem to make no point. Also I was very frustrated with how he used the term "male technologies" on several occasions in the book. I have no idea what he means by this phrase, and he makes no attempt to explain it.
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Reading Progress

November 4, 2014 – Shelved
November 4, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
November 4, 2014 – Shelved as: course-literature
November 11, 2014 – Started Reading
November 11, 2014 – Shelved as: owned-books
November 30, 2014 –
page 153
53.13%
November 30, 2014 – Finished Reading

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