Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering

Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering

by Henry Petroski
     
 

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Science/Engineering

"Petroski has an inquisitive mind, and he is a fine writer. . . . [He] takes us on a lively tour of engineers, their creations and their necessary turns of mind."   —Los Angeles Times

From the Ferris wheel to the integrated circuit, feats of engineering have changed our environment in countless ways, big and small.

Overview

Science/Engineering

"Petroski has an inquisitive mind, and he is a fine writer. . . . [He] takes us on a lively tour of engineers, their creations and their necessary turns of mind."   —Los Angeles Times

From the Ferris wheel to the integrated circuit, feats of engineering have changed our environment in countless ways, big and small. In Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering, Duke University's Henry Petroski focuses on the big: Malaysia's 1,482-foot Petronas Towers as well as the Panama Canal, a cut through the continental divide that required the excavation of 311 million cubic yards of earth.
        Remaking the World tells the stories behind the man-made wonders of the world, from squabbles over the naming of the Hoover Dam to the effects the Titanic disaster had on the engineering community of 1912. Here, too, are the stories of the personalities behind the wonders, from the jaunty Isambard Kingdom Brunel, designer of nineteenth-century transatlantic steamships, to Charles Steinmetz, oddball genius of the General Electric Company, whose office of preference was a battered twelve-foot canoe. Spirited and absorbing, Remaking the World is a celebration of the creative instinct and of the men and women whose inspirations have immeasurably improved our world.

"Petroski [is] America's poet laureate of technology. . . . Remaking the World is another fine book."   —Houston Chronicle

"Remaking the World really is an adventure in engineering."
—San Diego Union-Tribune

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Petroski, perhaps best known for The Pencil (LJ 3/1/90) and The Evolution of Useful Things (LJ 12/92), here collects columns written originally as essays for American Scientist, an engineering society publication. As such, the 18 selections, aimed at raising the reader's consciousness about how important and far-reaching engineering is to civilization and society, are accessible to a lay readers with an interest in technology and society. Several pieces are about particular engineers (e.g., Henry Robert, who wrote the Rules of Order, was first a military engineer) or engineering projects (the Channel Tunnel, the Ferris Wheel); others are provocative (the flaws of engineering software, the creep of technology). Always well written, though seldom off the "engineering is crucial!" soapbox, this is an excellent choice for general collections with a literate readership interested in technology and a good gift for the engineers on your Christmas list.
Mark L. Shelton, Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Ctr., Worcester
Thomas R. DeGregori
Another fine book [by] America's poet laureate of technology...Petroski's writing is always fascinating. -- Thomas R. DeGregori, Houston Chronicle
Christine Larson
The book's real charm lies in the countless anecdotes and bits of historic and engineering trivia that pepper each essay, rich details guaranteed to stay with you...Petroski's plain-English summaries of engineering fundamentals make this a rewarding read for both working engineers and armchair inventors. -- Christine Larson, Forbes

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375700248
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/28/1998
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
803,312
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 7.97(h) x 0.54(d)

Meet the Author

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History at Duke University, where he also serves as chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The author of seven previous books, he has received grants from the National Science Foundation and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Humanities Center.

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