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Technology in Postwar America: A History

by Carroll Pursell Columbia University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 320 pages
AU$117.00 NZ$120.87
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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& Academics:
Carroll Pursell draws fascinating connections between icons of popular culture and landmarks of American technological innovation as he studies the effect of postwar politics on the evolution of science and technology.

Just as America's domestic and international policies became inextricably linked during the Cold War, so did the nation's public and private technologies. The spread of suburbs fed into demands for an interstate highway system which, itself, became implicated in urban renewal projects. Fear of slipping into a postwar economic depression was offset by the creation of ''a consumers' republic'' in which buying and using consumer goods like cars, radios, and telephones became the ultimate act of citizenship and a symbol of an ''American Way of Life.'' Pursell's entertaining history involves a range of technologies, from television, the automobile, and genetically engineered crops to contraceptives, Tupperware, and the Veg-O-Matic, and extracts political meaning from private objects, like toy soldiers, low riders, and lawn chemicals. He also discusses the state of technology today, addressing such issues as globalization and other challenges to ''modernist'' technologies.

1. Arsenal of Democracy
2. The Geography of Everywhere
3. Foreign Aid and Advantage
4. The Atom and the Rocket
5. Factories and Farms
6. "It's Fun to Live in America"
7. Brain Drain and Technology Gap
8. From Technology Drunk...
9....To Technology Sober
10. A Wired Environment
11. Standing Tall Again
12. Globalization, Modernity, and the Postmodern

An excellent starting point for students and generalists who wish to gain a quick overview of the subject.
Adjunct Professor of modern history at Macquarie University in Sydney