Sunday, May 20, 2007

What is David Edgerton reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read is David Edgerton, author of The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900, and other works.

Part of his entry:
My current leisure reading is Robert Winder’s Bloody Foreigners, a passionate and to the point history of immigration into Britain. A key theme is the racism, hypocrisy and forgetfulness of the authorities and the people. At the same time it stresses that Britain has indeed become a richer society as a result of immigration.

Still in other respects things have got worse: for the last ten years Britain has had its most mendacious Prime Minister ever. Yet Tony Blair is so overrated by so many that they blind themselves to this, and to the disaster he contributed to in Iraq. As he leaves office it is good to have one’s critical faculties fortified by the splendid polemic of Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s short Yo, Blair! Like me he despises the man’s deep dishonesty and ignorance, particularly of history. Unfortunately, as Ken Alder’s The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession tells us, even if we could have strapped him down and stuck electrodes on his head we would not either find out the truth, or get him to tell it. While not quite the page turner that was The Measure of All Things, this book is a wonderful example of how modern history of science can be brought to a wider public.
There is much more to Edgerton's entry: read on.

David Edgerton is the Hans Rausing Professor at Imperial College London where he was the Founding Director of its Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

The Page 69 Test: The Shock of the Old.

Writers Read: David Edgerton.

--Marshal Zeringue