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Hardcover | Out of Print | 246 pp. | 5.25 x 8 in | August 1966 | ISBN: 9780262130257
Paperback | Out of Print | 246 pp. | 5.25 x 8 in | March 1968 | ISBN: 9780262630184
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Men, Machines, and Modern Times


Men, Machines, and Modern Times, though ultimately concerned with a positive alternative to an Orwellian 1984, offers an entertaining series of historical accounts taken from the nineteenth century to highlight a main theme: the nature of technological change, the fission brought about in society by such change, and society's reaction to that change. Beginning with a remarkable illustration of resistance to innovation in the U.S. Navy following an officer's discovery of a more accurate way to fire a gun at sea, Elting Morison goes on to narrate the strange history of the new model steamship, the Wapanoag, in the 1860s. He then continues with the difficulties confronting the introduction of the pasteurization process for milk; he traces the development of the Bessemer process; and finally, he considers the computer. While the discussions are liberally sprinkled with amusing examples and anecdotes, all are related to the more profound and current problem of how to organize and manage system of ideas, energies, and machinery so that it will conform to the human dimension.

About the Author

Elting Morison (1909–1995) was an American historian of technology, biographer, author, and essayist. A professor at MIT for many years, he founded MIT’s program in Science, Technology, and Society.


“It is the most brilliant, original, and absorbing book in American history I have read for some time.”
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.


Winner of the 1966 McKinsey Award