Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $12.59
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 55%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (16) from $12.59   
  • New (5) from $26.88   
  • Used (11) from $12.59   

Overview

Engineering the Revolution documents the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the "technological life." Ken Alder rewrites the history of the eighteenth century as the total history of one particular artifact-the gun-by offering a novel historical account of how material artifacts emerge as the outcome of political struggle. By expanding the "political" to include conflict over material objects, this volume rethinks the advent of engineering rationality, the origins of mass production, the rise of meritocracy, and our interpretation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

1997 Dexter Prize

1997 Dexter Prize from the Society for the History of Technology
Journal of Modern History

"Alder''s work is one of the first in the history of technology to offer a sophisticated historical treatment of skills. By arguing that skills are historically contingent, Alder''s contribution offers a valuable cultural study of the relationship between the rational knowledge of enlightened philosophers and engineers and the artisanal knowledge of skilled craftsmen."

— Myles W. Jackson

Isis

"This richly textured, heavily documented, and fluently written study centers on the attmept by French military engineers to apply engineering rationality--through the use of mass-produced interchangeable parts--to the reorganization of mass warfare. . . . Anyone interested in such topics as the social role of engineers, the politics of artifacts, and the military sources of social change will . . . benefit from a careful study of this remarkable book."

— Barton C. Hacker

American Historical Review

"This is a fine work, grounded in research in French archives and a plethora of other sources. Alder has forcefully demonstrated the role of engineers in fostering social change in the eighteenth-century and revolutionary eras."—Owen Connelly, American Historical Review

— Owen Connelly

Journal of Modern History - Myles W. Jackson

"Alder's work is one of the first in the history of technology to offer a sophisticated historical treatment of skills. By arguing that skills are historically contingent, Alder's contribution offers a valuable cultural study of the relationship between the rational knowledge of enlightened philosophers and engineers and the artisanal knowledge of skilled craftsmen."
Isis - Barton C. Hacker

"This richly textured, heavily documented, and fluently written study centers on the attmept by French military engineers to apply engineering rationality--through the use of mass-produced interchangeable parts--to the reorganization of mass warfare. . . . Anyone interested in such topics as the social role of engineers, the politics of artifacts, and the military sources of social change will . . . benefit from a careful study of this remarkable book."
American Historical Review - Owen Connelly

"This is a fine work, grounded in research in French archives and a plethora of other sources. Alder has forcefully demonstrated the role of engineers in fostering social change in the eighteenth-century and revolutionary eras."
From the Publisher
Winner of the 1998 Dexter Prize, Society for the History of Technology

"Engineering the Revolution is a triumph. It deserves to be read widely, and not just as an inquiry into the origins of modern France."—Donald MacKenzie, London Review of Books

"Ken Alder has written an ambitious book.... His description of work in the weapons industry and his analysis of the effects of standard measures, such as jigs and gauges, is both fascinating and enlightening. His treatment of the arms manufacturing during the Year II furnishes useful data on this extraordinary phase of the Revolution."—Sam Scott, The Journal of Military History

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226012643
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2010
  • Pages: 476
  • Sales rank: 1,119,821
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Alder is the Milton H. Wilson Professor of the Humanities and professor of history at Northwestern University. He is the author of The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error that Transformed the World and The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: A Revolution of Engineers? 3

Part 1 Engineering Design: Capital into Coercion, 1763-1793

Chapter 1 The Last Argument of the King 23

Chapter 2 A Social Epistemology of Enlightenment Engineering 56

Chapter 3 Design and Deployment 87

Part 2 Engineering Production: Coercion into Capital, 1763-1793

Chapter 4 The Tools of Practical Reason 127

Chapter 5 The Saint-Etienne Armory: Musket-Making and the End of the Ancien Régime 163

Chapter 6 Inventing Interchangeability: Mechanical Ideals, Political Realities 221

Part 3 Engineering Society: Technocracy and Revolution, 1794-1815

Chapter 7 The Machine in the Revolution 253

Chapter 8 Terror, Technocracy, Thermidor 292

Chapter 9 Technological Amnesia and the Entrepreneurial Order 319

Conclusion 344

Abbreviations 353

Notes 355

Bibliography 421

Index 457

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)