Notes and quotes from Thomas P. Hughes' "American Genesis"

  • When more histories of technology that take the critical stance of the best histories of politics are written, American will realize that not only their remarkable achievements but many of their deep and persistent problems arise, in the name of order, system, and control, from the mechanization and systematization of life and from the sacrifice of the organic and the spontaneous p 4
  • As historian and social critic Lewis Mumford so eloquently insisted decades ago, technology is both shaper of, and is shaped by, values. It is value laden. p 5
  • When the Soviet Union embarked on a Five-Year Plan that specified mammoth regional system of technology based on hydroelectric power and prodigiousl rich stores of Siberian natural resources, it turned to American consulting engineers and industrial corporations for advice and equipment. The Soviets constructed entire industrial systems modeled on the steel works in Gary, Indiana, and hydroelectric projects on the Mississippi. pp. 8-9
  • Working in their retreats, intellectual and physical, they created a new way, even a new world, to displace the existing one. p 24
  • A fairly large part of the American creation myth has been of creating a new world, from the shining city on a hill to the frontier hypothesis, Menlo Park and the Internet, American history has long been intertwined with creating new spaces of retreat and discovery.

First published Mar 30, 2012