Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission / Edition 1

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Overview

Dominance by Design explores the critical ways in which technological superiority has undergirded U.S. policies of unilateralism, preemption, and interventionism in foreign affairs while raising us from an impoverished frontier nation to a global power. Challenging the long-held assumptions and imperatives that sustain the belief in the civilizing mission, Adas gives us an essential guide to America's past and present role in the world as well as cautionary lessons for the future.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of World History

In the past few years, bookstores have been deluged with books critical of American foreign policy, and specifically condemning he actions of the Bush administration in the Middle East. In Dominance by Design, Michael Adas carries that critical interpretation of American policy into the past, arguing that throughout history the attitudes and actions of Americans toward non-Western peoples have been characterized by condescension, arrogance, and violence...Adas attributes the moral blindness and overweening arrogance of the American people toward non-Western peoples to the powerful technologies they have adopted or developed.
— Daniel R. Headrick

American Historical Review

[This] book is a compelling, well-written indictment of our "techno-hubris" that should be required reading for this and subsequent presidents as well as historians of U.S. culture, politics, and technology.
— Carolyn De La Pena

Technology and Culture

Michael Adas has written an excellent and most timely study of the oft-forgotten role of technology in enabling and then justifying European colonization of North America, the westward expansion of the United States, and ultimately the emergence of the United States as a global power.
— John H. Morrow

James C. Scott
If only I could send two or three thousand choice subjects to a "re-education camp" consisting entirely of a close reading of Adas's Dominance by Design, a sweeping, powerful indictment of American technological hubris from the first European settlers to the Gulf Wars.
Nick Cullather
Adas has identified the leitmotif of American empire: not democracy, globalization, or "soft power," but technology. Technology sanctions conquest and justifies projects to reshape the lives, habits, and environments of distant peoples. Adas has given us an arresting, comprehensive narrative that will change the way we think.
Michael Hunt
Dominance by Design is a wonderful piece of synthesis -- smart, fluent, and wide-ranging. Michael Adas traces the arc of U.S. history and highlights what he calls technocentrism as a major source of American economic, military, and environmental mastery. This argument deserves a readership as broad as the scholarship on which it is based.
Walter Lafeber
In this extraordinary, and extraordinarily important, book, Michael Adas not only gives us a fascinating historical overview of American technology but how faith in that technology's power shaped (or tragically misshaped) American religion, fine art, race relations, engineers and engineering, and views of Islam.
Paul N. Edwards
Few scholars have so fully grasped the profound connection between exceptionalism, expansionism, and technological evangelism in American history. No one who seeks to understand this country's past, present, or future can afford to ignore this masterful book.
Journal of World History - Daniel R. Headrick
In the past few years, bookstores have been deluged with books critical of American foreign policy, and specifically condemning he actions of the Bush administration in the Middle East. In Dominance by Design, Michael Adas carries that critical interpretation of American policy into the past, arguing that throughout history the attitudes and actions of Americans toward non-Western peoples have been characterized by condescension, arrogance, and violence...Adas attributes the moral blindness and overweening arrogance of the American people toward non-Western peoples to the powerful technologies they have adopted or developed.
American Historical Review - Carolyn De La Pena
[This] book is a compelling, well-written indictment of our "techno-hubris" that should be required reading for this and subsequent presidents as well as historians of U.S. culture, politics, and technology.
Technology and Culture - John H. Morrow
Michael Adas has written an excellent and most timely study of the oft-forgotten role of technology in enabling and then justifying European colonization of North America, the westward expansion of the United States, and ultimately the emergence of the United States as a global power.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674018679
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 2.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Adas is the Abraham E. Voorhees Professor of History at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : a train for the shogun 1
1 "Engins" in the wilderness 33
2 Machines and manifest destiny 67
3 Engineers' imperialism 129
4 Foundations of an American century 185
5 Imposing modernity 219
6 Machines in the Vietnam quagmire 281
7 Technowar in the Persian Gulf 339
Epilogue : the paradox of technological supremacy 385
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