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 unrecognized 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.
Born in Montevideo in 1959, David Edgerton is one of Britain's leading historians, and has challenged conventional analyses of technology for 20 years. Currently the Hans Rausing Professor at Imperial College London, he writes for the broadsheet press and is a regular on television and radio. He lives in London.