Robert Friedel is Professor in the Department of History at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Pioneer Plastic: The Making and Selling of Celluloid, Edison's Electric Light, and Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty.
"This is a splendid book, recalling Mumford's "Technics and Civilization" in its scope and erudition. It challenges us to think carefully about the idea of progress, the 'culture of improvement, ' and the uneasy relationship that persists between freedom, power, and social responsibility in the modern technological world."--Merritt Roe Smith, Cutten Professor of the History of Technology, MIT