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

Paperback | May 18, 2005

byJohn H. Lienhard

not yet rated|write a review
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 asKatherine 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.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$37.50

Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

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 Rog...

John H. Lienhard is the M.D. Anderson Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston. He has worked as an engineer and educator since 1951, and is well known in thermal engineering. He has also written about, and taught, history since the 1970s. He is the author and host of The Engines of Our I...

other books by John H. Lienhard

see all books by John H. Lienhard
Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 5.79 × 8.82 × 0.79 inPublished:May 18, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195189515

ISBN - 13:9780195189513

Customer Reviews of Inventing Modern: Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins

Reviews

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

" 'A good read' is not the first phrase that comes to mind in discussing most academic books, but in this case, it is well-deserved praiseA more fascinating, informative, or enjoyable introduction to science, technology, and modern science would be hard to imagine."--Choice