ISBN-10:
0195168747
ISBN-13:
9780195168747
Pub. Date:
08/25/2005
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Creating the 20th Century / Edition 1

Creating the 20th Century / Edition 1

by Vaclav Smil
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Overview

The period between 1867 and 1914 remains the greatest watershed in human history since the emergence of settled agricultural societies: the time when an expansive civilization based on synergy of fuels, science, and technical innovation was born. At its beginnings in the 1870s were dynamite, the telephone, photographic film, and the first light bulbs. Its peak decade - the astonishing 1880s - brought electricity - generating plants, electric motors, steam turbines, the gramophone, cars, aluminum production, air-filled rubber tires, and prestressed concrete. And its post-1900 period saw the first airplanes, tractors, radio signals and plastics, neon lights and assembly line production. This book is a systematic interdisciplinary account of the history of this outpouring of European and American intellect and of its truly epochal consequences. It takes a close look at four fundamental classes of these epoch-making innovations: formation, diffusion, and standardization of electric systems; invention and rapid adoption of internal combustion engines; the unprecedented pace of new chemical syntheses and material substitutions; and the birth of a new information age. These chapters are followed by an evaluation of the lasting impact these advances had on the 20th century, that is, the creation of high-energy societies engaged in mass production aimed at improving standards of living.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195168747
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 08/25/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 904,487
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba, and the author of 19 books, including Feeding the World (MIT Press, 2000), Enriching the Earth: Transformation of World Food Production (MIT Press 2001), and Energy at the Crossroads (MIT Press 2003).

Table of Contents

Units and Abbreviationsix
1The Great Inheritance3
2The Age of Electricity33
3Internal Combustion Engines99
4New Materials and New Syntheses153
5Communication and Information199
6A New Civilization259
7Contemporary Perceptions303
References313
Name Index337
Subject Index343

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