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Visions Of Technology: A Century Of Vital Debate About Machines Systems and The Human World
Visions of Technology: A Century of Vital Debate About Machines Systems and the Human World
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb provides a unique perspective on the twentieth century through a lively collection of writings about the unexpected and paradoxical ways in which technology has changed our lives—and will affect our future. Technology has been the blessing and the bane of the twentieth century. Human lifespan has nearly doubled in the West, but in no century have more human beings ever been killed by new technologies of war. Improvements in agriculture have fed increasing billions, but pesticides and chemicals threaten to poison the Earth. Does technology improve us or diminish us? Enslave us or make us free? The problems and paradoxes of technology have stirred impassioned debate, yet, despite the central role technology has played in this century, Visions of Technology is the first book to explore the rich...
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb provides a unique perspective on the twentieth century through a lively collection of writings about the unexpected and paradoxical ways in which technology has changed our lives—and will affect our future. Technology has been the blessing and the bane of the twentieth century. Human lifespan has nearly doubled in the West, but in no century have more human beings ever been killed by new technologies of war. Improvements in agriculture have fed increasing billions, but pesticides and chemicals threaten to poison the Earth. Does technology improve us or diminish us? Enslave us or make us free? The problems and paradoxes of technology have stirred impassioned debate, yet, despite the central role technology has played in this century, Visions of Technology is the first book to explore the rich diversity of commentary about this vital subject. Guided by the eminent Richard Rhodes, the reader of this provocative treasury will find highlighted the views of such prominent technological figures as Henry Ford, H. G. Wells, Rachel Carson, Margaret Sanger, Aldous Huxley, John Glenn and Gordon E. Moore. Visions of Technology also features thought-provoking images—from the first X-ray to R. Crumb’s comic apocalypse—which inform this original, much-needed roundtable. Among the gems of opinion and history of technology gathered in this volume are Henry Ford on the horseless carriage, Thorstein Veblen on the discipline of the machine, David McCullough on the Panama Canal, Billy Mitchell on air warfare, Margaret Sanger on birth control, Robert Caro on Robert Moses, Charles Lindbergh on flying, James Agee on overalls, Lieutenant General Leslie R. Groves on the Manhattan Project, J. Robert Oppenheimer on science and war, Isaac Asimov on robotics, Alva Myrdal on “Blue Jeans and Coca-Cola,” Joan Didion on the Hoover Dam and Julian L. Simon on the pitfalls of making predictions (of which there are many in the 214 selections that make up this book). At once a work of cultural history and of literature, Visions of Technology is an indispensable guide to understanding the world we have created for ourselves in the twentieth century and the problems we face at its conclusion.

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About Richard

RICHARD RHODES's most recent book is Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Rhodes is the author or editor of twenty-four books including The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which won a Pulitzer Prize...

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Published Reviews

Dec.13.2007

This book is a major work of historical synthesis that brings to life the men and machines that gave us the nuclear era. Rich in drama and suspense, The Making of the Atomic Bomb also has...

Oct.28.2007

[O]nce you get into the details of Why They Kill, you find yourself both surprised by some of its conclusions and mesmerized by its narrative. The book is not so much a summing up of the theories...