Focusing on the postwar automation of the American metal-working industry--the heart of the modern industrial economy--this is a provocative study of how automation has assumed a critical role in America. David Noble argues that industrial automation--more than merely a technological advance--is a social process that reflects very real divisions and pressures within our society. The book explains how technology is often spurred and shaped by the military, corporations, universities, and other mighty institutions. Using detailed case studies, Noble also demonstrates how engineering design is influenced by political, economic, and sociological considerations, and how the deployment of equipment is frequently entangled with certain managerial concerns.
"Noble's research is exhaustive, his technical descriptions are full and understandable, and his writing is lively....This book will be a classic in the field."--American Historical Review
"A prodigious accomplishment." --The New York Review of Books
"Rich and absorbing....It is truly a definitive work and will doubtless serve to redirect research in the field."--Reviews in American History
"[Provides] superbly researched, in-depth data....This story is fascinating and well told."--The New York Times Book Review
"Pioneering work on a major development in late 20th-century history."--Lawrence B. de Graef, California State University, Fullerton