Dawn of the Electronic Age: Electrical Technologies in the Shaping of the Modern World, 1914 to 1945

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John Wiley & Sons, May 6, 2009 - Technology & Engineering - 552 pages
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A comprehensive and fascinating account of electrical and electronics history

Much of the infrastructure of today's industrialized world arose in the period from the outbreak of World War I to the conclusion of World War II. It was during these years that the capabilities of traditional electrical engineering—generators, power transmission, motors, electric lighting and heating, home appliances, and so on—became ubiquitous. Even more importantly, it was during this time that a new type of electrical engineering—electronics—emerged. Because of its applications in communications (both wire-based and wireless), entertainment (notably radio, the phonograph, and sound movies), industry, science and medicine, and the military, the electronics industry became a major part of the economy.

Dawn of the Electronic Age?explores how this engineering knowledge and its main applications developed in various scientific, economic, and social contexts, and explains how each was profoundly affected by electrical technologies. It takes an international perspective and a narrative approach, unfolding the story chronologically.

Though a scholarly study (with sources of information given in endnotes for engineers and historians of science and technology), the book is intended for the general public.?Ultimately, it tells the story of the development of a new realm of engineering and its widespread applications during the remarkable and tragic period of two world wars and the decades in between.


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1 The Great War and Wireless Communications
2 Electrical Technologies in Total War
3 Electrification in the Interwar Period
4 The Jazz Age and Radio Broadcasting
5 Postwar Recovery and the Great Depression Electrical Technologies in Industry and Commerce
6 Electrical Technologies and the Consumer Culture
7 Communication Technologies in Democratic and Totalitarian Countries
8 Electrical Engineering in an Age of Science
9 World War II and Electrical Technology
10 Radar the Weapon That Decided the War
Conclusion Dawn of the Electronic Age
Notes on the Illustrations

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About the author (2009)

FREDERIK NEBEKER, PHD, is currently Senior Research Historian at the IEEE History Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

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