Inventing Modern: Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins / Edition 1

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Overview

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 road—Burma Shave, Kerouac, and White Castles—lie driving forces that set this account of Modern apart.
One force, says Lienhard, was a new concept of boyhood—the 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 confidence—a time that might yet rise again out of its own postmodern ashes.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195189513
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/18/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John H. Lienhard is the M.D. Anderson Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston. He has worked as an engineer and educator since 1951, and is well known in thermal engineering. He has also written about, and taught, history since the 1970s. He is the author and host of The Engines of Our Ingenuity, a weekday radio essay on the history of creativity and invention (heard on many public radio stations), and he is author of the book by the same name.

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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
8 Automobile 115
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
14 War 219
15 A funeral in the fifties 244
16 After modern 258
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Mirrere

    So not fair. Im like the only guy in this entire rp. -_- -Mirrere

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Nightshade

    Guys Dorms

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