Over the last two hundred years mechanization has moved from being a marginal marvel, of interest to scientists and tinkerers, to the dominant condition of modern society and economy, so much so that it is now easy to imagine a future where mechanization even enters into the human mind and body. Sigfried Giedion's extraordinary, encyclopedic book traces the various ways in which, for better and for worse, mechanization has assumed control of our lives, from modern systems of hygiene and waste management, to agricultural production, fashion, and beyond. Giedion's book is not only clearly written but also eloquent and thoughtful in its investigation of mechanization's reach and appeal, and it offers fascinating insights into the intersection between mechanization and the imagination, as manifested in literature and the visual arts. With a wealth of unusual and intriguing illustrations taken from old sales catalogues, industrial manuals, magazines, and other sources, Giedion's book constitutes a remarkable and endlessly suggestive history of modernity itself, as comprehensive as it is provocative and eccentric.
Publisher: The New York Review of Books, Inc