Inventing Modern: Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins / Edition 1by John H. Lienhard
Pub. Date: 05/18/2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Modern is a word much used, but hard to pin down. In Inventing Modern, John H. Lienhard uses that word to capture the furious rush of newness in the first half of 20th-century America. An unexpected world emerges from under the more familiar Modern. Beyond the airplanes, radios, art deco, skyscrapers, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Buck Rogers, the culture of the open… See more details below
Modern is a word much used, but hard to pin down. In Inventing Modern, John H. Lienhard uses that word to capture the furious rush of newness in the first half of 20th-century America. An unexpected world emerges from under the more familiar Modern. Beyond the airplanes, radios, art deco, skyscrapers, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Buck Rogers, the culture of the open roadBurma Shave, Kerouac, and White Castleslie driving forces that set this account of Modern apart.
One force, says Lienhard, was a new concept of boyhoodthe risk-taking, hands-on savage inventor. Driven by an admiration of recklessness, America developed its technological empire with stunning speed. Bringing the airplane to fruition in so short a time, for example, were people such as Katherine Stinson, Lincoln Beachey, Amelia Earhart, and Charles Lindbergh. The rediscovery of mystery powerfully drove Modern as well. X-Rays, quantum mechanics, and relativity theory had followed electricity and radium. Here we read how, with reality seemingly altered, hope seemed limitless.
Lienhard blends these forces with his childhood in the brave new world. The result is perceptive, engaging, and filled with surprise. Whether he talks about Alexander Calder (an engineer whose sculptures were exercises in materials science) or that wacky paean to flight, Flying Down to Rio, unexpected detail emerges from every tile of this large mosaic.
Inventing Modern is a personal book that displays, rather than defines, an age that ended before most of us were born. It is an engineer's homage to a time before the bomb and our terrible loss of confidencea time that might yet rise again out of its own postmodern ashes.
- Oxford University Press, USA
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.80(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Table of Contents
|1||1846 : great-grandpa and Manifest Destiny||1|
|2||Short-lived technologies : searching for direction||21|
|3||"The irruption of forces totally new"||39|
|4||A new genus of genius||53|
|5||Remington to Modern : finding the core on the fringe||64|
|6||Fires and the high-rise phoenix||84|
|7||The Titan City||101|
|9||On the road : of highways and gasoline||137|
|10||The back door into the sky||152|
|11||Flying down to Rio||172|
|12||A boy's life in the new century||190|
|13||Inventing a better mousetrap||204|
|15||A funeral in the fifties||244|
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