Inventing Modern Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins

ISBN-10: 0195189515

ISBN-13: 9780195189513

Edition: 2005

Authors: John H. Lienhard
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Description: 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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Book details

List price: $33.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 6/9/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.924
Language: English

Preface
1846: Great-Grandpa and Manifest Destiny
Short-Lived Technologies: Searching for Direction
"The Irruption of Forces Totally New"
A New Genus of Genius
Remington to Modern: Finding the Core on the Fringe
Fires and the High-Rise Phoenix
The Titan City
Automobile
On the Road: Of Highways and Gasoline
The Back Door into the Sky
Flying Down to Rio
A Boy's Life in the New Century
Inventing a Better Mousetrap
War
A Funeral in the Fifties
After Modern
Notes
Index
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