Journals Higher Education



Published: 31 March 2017

384 Pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195387261

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (04)

A Social History of American Technology

Second Edition

Ruth Schwartz Cowan and Matthew H. Hersch

A Social History of American Technology, Second Edition, tells the story of American technology from the tools used by its earliest inhabitants to the technological systems--cars and computers, aircraft and antibiotics--that we are familiar with today. Ruth Schwartz Cowan and Matthew H. Hersch demonstrate how technological change has always been closely related to social and economic development, and examine the important mutual relationships between social history and technological change. They explain how the unique characteristics of American cultures and American geography have affected the technologies that have been invented, manufactured, and used throughout the years--and also the reverse: how those technologies have affected the daily lives, the unique cultures, and the environments of all Americans.

New to this Edition:

  • An updated discussion of the automobile, including fuel efficiency, electric vehicles, the decline of the Big Four auto companies, and climate change
  • An extended examination of aerospace technology, including satellites, space shuttles, GPS, and precision-guided weapons
  • An expanded examination of wireless telegraphy, radio, and television and other electronic media
  • New material on information technologies, from mainframe computers to personal computers, the internet, social media and smartphones
  • A new examination of twentieth-century food and drug technologies, in terms of their unintended consequences, reframed as examples of technoscience
  • A new chapter on biotechnology, explaining the science of genetic modification and exploring genetically modified bacteria as drug factories and genetically modified plants as food products