Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology and Ideologies of Western Dominance


Michael B. Adas - 1989
    In Machines as the Measure of Men, Michael Adas explores the ways in which European perceptions of their scientific and technological superiority shaped their interactions with people overseas. Adopting a broad, comparative perspective, he analyzes European responses to the cultures of sub-Saharan Africa, India, and China, cultures that they judged to represent lower levels of material mastery and social organization.

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution


Charles R. Morris - 2012
    That is a well-known period in history, when titans like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J. P. Morgan walked the earth.But as Charles R. Morris shows us, the platform for that spectacular growth spurt was built in the first half of the century. By the 1820s, America was already the world's most productive manufacturer and the most intensely commercialized society in history. The War of 1812 jump-started the great New England cotton mills, the iron centers in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and the forges around the Great Lakes. In the decade after the War, the Midwest was opened by entrepreneurs. In this book, Morris paints a vivid panorama of a new nation buzzing with the work of creation. He also points out the parallels and differences in the nineteenth century American/British standoff and that between China and America today.

The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World


Virginia Postrel - 2020
    Since the first thread was spun, the need for textiles has driven technology, business, politics, and culture.In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics, and science to reveal a surprising history. From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo's David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code.Assiduously researched and deftly narrated, The Fabric of Civilization tells the story of the world's most influential commodity.

The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective


Robert C. Allen - 2009
    He shows that in Britain wages were high and capital and energy cheap in comparison to other countries in Europe and Asia. As a result, the breakthrough technologies of the industrial revolution - the steam engine, the cotton mill, and the substitution of coal for wood in metal production - were uniquely profitable to invent and use in Britain. The high wage economy of pre-industrial Britain also fostered industrial development since more people could afford schooling and apprenticeships. It was only when British engineers made these new technologies more cost-effective during the nineteenth century that the industrial revolution would spread around the world.

டாலர் தேசம் [Dollar Dhesam]


Pa Raghavan - 2004
    Dollar dhesam is a novel that completely covers the political history of America in view with all of its presidents answering pertinent questions such as why dollar is valued in premium? WHen, how did america become superpower? etc., Written in Tamil is a pleasant read indeed.

Modern Latin America


Thomas E. Skidmore - 1984
    Thoroughly updated and revised, the book includes a new chapter on the history of Colombia from the wars of independence to the violent conflicts of the present day. It also examines such topics as: * the impact of 9/11 on U.S.-Latin American relations * globalization * drug trafficking * women's roles in society and politics * the fragility and uncertainty of democracy in Latin America The book features sociocultural sections and boxes in nearly every chapter, covering such diverse areas as the psychology of exile, Santeria in Cuba, baseball in the Dominican Republic, and the popularity of Latin music in the U.S. All political and economic information has been updated. As in earlier editions, the authors use an in-depth case study approach that guides readers through the major countries of Latin America, highlighting central themes including European-New World interaction, racial mixtures, military takeovers, and United States intervention in the area. With an insightful look into the future, Modern Latin America, Sixth Edition, will continue to be an exceptional text for undergraduate courses on contemporary Latin American history, society, and politics."

The Industrial Revolution


Patrick N. Allitt - 2014
    In this course, The Great Courses partners with the Smithsonian - one of the world's most storied and exceptional educational institutions - to examine the extraordinary events of this period and uncover the far-reaching impact of this incredible revolution. Over the course of 36 thought-provoking lectures, longtime Great Courses favorite Professor Allitt introduces you to the inventors, businessmen, and workers responsible for transforming virtually every aspect of our lives and fueling one of the greatest periods of innovation in human history. The technological achievements of this era are nothing short of astonishing. Thanks to inventions such as the steam engine and processes such as large-scale iron smelting, industrial entrepreneurs were able to mechanize labor, which allowed for a host of new efficiencies such as division of labor, mass production, and global distribution. You'll discover the science behind some of the most astounding inventions in modern history, including the spinning jenny, the incandescent light bulb, and the computer processor. You'll learn how these inventions came about and consider what effects these technologies had on every aspect of human life. Get an inside look at the history of industrial innovation and explore the lives of engineers, inventors, architects, and designers responsible for changing the world - as well as ordinary workers who lost their livelihoods to new technologies and suffered from unsafe working conditions. The story of the Industrial Revolution is complex, and these lectures will leave you with a new appreciation for the amazing human achievements all around us.

Masters of the Word: How Media Shaped History from the Alphabet to the Internet


William J. Bernstein - 2013
    Bernstein’s A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, an Economist and Financial Times Best Book of the Year, placed him firmly among the top flight of historians like Jared Diamond and Bill Bryson, capable of distilling major trends and reams of information into insightful, globe-spanning popular narrative. Bernstein explains how new communication technologies and in particular our access to them, impacted human society. Writing was born thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia. Spreading to Sumer, and then Egypt, this revolutionary tool allowed rulers to extend their control far and wide, giving rise to the world’s first empires. When Phoenician traders took their alphabet to Greece, literacy’s first boom led to the birth of drama and democracy. In Rome, it helped spell the downfall of the Republic. Later, medieval scriptoria and vernacular bibles gave rise to religious dissent, and with the combination of cheaper paper and Gutenberg’s printing press, the fuse of Reformation was lit. The Industrial Revolution brought the telegraph and the steam driven printing press, allowing information to move faster than ever before and to reach an even larger audience. But along with radio and television, these new technologies were more easily exploited by the powerful, as seen in Germany, the Soviet Union, even Rwanda, where radio incited genocide. With the rise of carbon duplicates (Russian samizdat), photocopying (the Pentagon Papers), the internet, social media and cell phones (the recent Arab Spring) more people have access to communications, making the world more connected than ever before. In Masters of the Word, Bernstein masterfully guides the reader through the vast history of communications, illustrating each step with colorful stories and anecdotes. This is a captivating, enlightening book, one that will change the way you look at technology, history, and power.

T-Minus AI: Humanity’s Countdown to Artificial Intelligence and the New Pursuit of Global Power


Michael Kanaan - 2020
    China delivered a bold message when it released a national plan to dominate all aspects of AI across the planet. Within weeks, Russia's Vladimir Putin raised the stakes by declaring AI the future for all humankind, and proclaiming that, "Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."The race was on. Consistent with their unique national agendas, countries throughout the world began plotting their paths and hurrying their pace. Now, not long after, the race has become a sprint.Despite everything at risk, for most of us AI remains shrouded by a cloud of mystery and misunderstanding. Hidden behind complex technical terms and confused even further by extravagant depictions in science fiction, the realities of AI and its profound implications are hard to decipher, but no less crucial to understand.In T-Minus AI: Humanity's Countdown to Artificial Intelligence and the New Pursuit of Global Power, author Michael Kanaan explains the realities of AI from a human-oriented perspective that's easy to comprehend. A recognized national expert and the U.S. Air Force's first Chairperson for Artificial Intelligence, Kanaan weaves a compelling new view on our history of innovation and technology to masterfully explain what each of us should know about modern computing, AI, and machine learning.Kanaan also illuminates the global implications of AI by highlighting the cultural and national vulnerabilities already exposed and the pressing issues now squarely on the table. AI has already become China's all-purpose tool to impose authoritarian influence around the world. Russia, playing catch up, is weaponizing AI through its military systems and now infamous, aggressive efforts to disrupt democracy by whatever disinformation means possible.America and like-minded nations are awakening to these new realities, and the paths they're electing to follow echo loudly, in most cases, the political foundations and moral imperatives upon which they were formed.As we march toward a future far different than ever imagined, T-Minus AI is fascinating and critically well-timed. It leaves the fiction behind, paints the alarming implications of AI for what they actually are, and calls for unified action to protect fundamental human rights and dignities for all.

The Fortunes of Africa: A 5,000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor


Martin Meredith - 2014
    Africa has been coveted for its rich natural resources ever since the era of the Pharaohs. In past centuries, it was the lure of gold, ivory, and slaves that drew merchant-adventurers and conquerors from afar. In modern times, the focus of attention is on oil, diamonds, and other rare earth minerals. In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future. His cast of characters includes religious leaders, mining magnates, warlords, dictators, and many other legendary figures-among them Mansa Musa, ruler of the medieval Mali empire, said to be the richest man the world has ever known.

Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing


Vaclav Smil - 2013
    Smil argues that no advanced economy can prosper without a strong, innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates.Smil explains how manufacturing became a fundamental force behind America's economic, strategic, and social dominance. He describes American manufacturing's rapid rise at the end of the nineteenth century, its consolidation and modernization between the two world wars, its role as an enabler of mass consumption after 1945, and its recent decline. Some economists argue that shipping low-value jobs overseas matters little because the high-value work remains in the United States. But, asks Smil, do we want a society that consists of a small population of workers doing high-value-added work and masses of unemployed?Smil assesses various suggestions for solving America's manufacturing crisis, including lowering corporate tax rates, promoting research and development, and improving public education. Will America act to preserve and reinvigorate its manufacturing? It is crucial to our social and economic well-being; but, Smil warns, the odds are no better than even.

Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape


H.J. de Blij - 2008
    As Harm de Blij argues in The Power of Place, in crucial ways--from the uneven distribution of natural resources to the unequal availability of opportunity--geography continues to hold billions of people in its grip. We are all born into natural and cultural environments that shape what we become, individually and collectively. From our "mother tongue" to our father's faith, from medical risks to natural hazards, where we start our journey has much to do with our destiny. Hundreds of millions of farmers in the river basins of Asia and Africa, and tens of millions of shepherds in isolated mountain valleys from the Andes to Kashmir, all live their lives much as their distant ancestors did, remote from the forces of globalization. Incorporating a series of persuasive maps, De Blij describes the tremendously varied environments across the planet and shows how migrations between them are comparatively rare. De Blij also looks at the ways we are redefining place so as to make its power even more potent than it has been, with troubling implications.

Natural Experiments of History


Jared Diamond - 2010
    This book looks at the use of natural experiments or the comparative method.

The Cold War: A History


Martin Walker - 1993
    Now that it is over, it is crucial to our future to understand how the Cold War has shaped us and, especially, to recognize it as the economic and political dynamic that determined the structure of today's global economy.From the origins of the Marshall Plan, which revived Europe after World War II, and the strategic decision to rebuild a defeated Japan into a bulwark against China to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, this authoritative work reveals how the West was built into an economic alliance that overpowered the Soviet economy while also unleashing global economic forces that today challenge the traditional nation-state.The Cold War was more of a global conflict than was either of this century's two major wars; far more than a confrontation between states or even empires, it was, as Martin Walker puts it, "a total war between economic and social systems, an industrial test to destruction."Walker reminds us how easy it is to forget that there were many occasions for the late 1940s on when victory seemed far from assured, and that lent a particular urgency to the efforts of postwar Western leaders. The West continued to be alarmed by the prospect of defeat right up to the Soviet empire's last breath. At the end of the 1940s the fear was generated by communist expansion into Eastern Europe and China; in the 1960s by the prospect of defeat in Vietnam. In the 1970s the failure of détente and the West's economic crisis brought a new generation of dedicated anti-Communists to prominence. For more than forty years, as this detailed analysis makes clear, the outcome of the Cold War was in doubt.We also come to understand how the arms race caused new alignments and shifts in domestic power. As the United States became the national security state, California, which had a population of five million at the start of the Cold War, grew to thirty million and, by the 1980s provided one in every ten members of Congress and two presidents.Using newly opened Kremlin archives and his own experiences in the field, Martin Walker has written a brilliant analysis of the conflict that has shaped the contemporary world.

When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies


Andy Beckett - 2009
    They encompass strikes that brought down governments, shock general election results, the rise of Margaret Thatcher and the fall of Edward Heath, the IMF crisis, the Winter of Discontent and the three-day week.But the seventies have also been frequently misunderstood, oversimplified and misrepresented. When the Lights Went Out goes in search of what really happened, what it felt like at the time, and where it was all leading. It includes vivid interviews with many of the leading participants, many of them now dead, from Heath to Jack Jones to Arthur Scargill, and it travels from the once-famous factories where the great industrial confrontations took place to the suburbs where Thatcherism was created and to remote North Sea oil rigs.The book also unearths the stories of the forgotten political actors away from Westminster who gave the decade so much of its volatility and excitement, from the Gay Liberation Front to the hippie anarchists of the free festival movement. Over five years in the making, this book is not an academic history but something for the general reader, written with the vividness of a novel or the best works of American New Journalism, bringing the decade back to life in all its drama and complexity.