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The Shock Of The Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 Paperback – 10 Jan 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (10 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861973063
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861973061
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


So the new is old, and the old is new! Marvellous stuff, and absolutely spot-on. (Simon Jenkins)

he eviscerates our obsession with novelty... (Hugh Pearman The Sunday Times)

newfangled things are sexy, but how significant are they?...Edgerton provides a corrective by emphasising some of the overlooked technologies that affect the lives of many. (John Sparks Newsweek)

David Edgerton's The Shock of the Old is a book I can use. I can take it in two hands and bash it over the heads of every techno-nerd, computer geek and neophiliac futurologist I meet. (Simon Jenkins Guardian)

...iconoclastic and thought-provoking book...he makes a strong case that accords with what Virgil identified around 25BC as a definitive human characteristic. Our lives consist of semper cedentia retro: always going forwards backwards. (The Times)

It's rare for a book to make you see the world differently, but this alternative history does exactly that on almost every page. (Guardian)


The first proper global account of the place of technology in twentieth century history, this brilliant, thought-provoking book will radically revise our understanding of the relationship between technology and society.This first ever history of technology casts aside the usual stories of inventions and focuses instead on what people actually use. It reassesses the relationship of technology and society, using unrecognised examples such as Spanish synthetic petrol, Japanese rickshaws, American gas chambers, Soviet tractors and Turkish battleships.We do not live in an era of ever increasing change, and the most important technologies of the twenty first century are often overlooked today. Drawing on political, economic and cultural history, "The Shock of the Old" dispels misplaced futurism and exemplifies a radical new way of looking at our world.

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20 customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

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