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Regulating Railroad Innovation: Business, Technology, and Politics in America, 1840-1920 Paperback – Sep 3 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 11 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521001064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521001069
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,011,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"This will stand as an important work, not only in the history of technology and economic and business history but in American history in general for years to come." EH.NET

"Usselman uses his subject, technological innovation in railroading, as a jumping off point for a comprehensive and stunningly original treatment of American business and political, as well as technological, history from the second quarter of the nineteenth century until World War I. The result is so impressive that, if I were asked to recommend a single book on this period of American history, I would now unhesitatingly pick this one." Naomi R. Lamoreaux, University of California, Los Angeles

"egulating Railroad Innovation is a pathbreaking fusion of the histories of technology, business, and politics. As no historian has ever done before, Usselman demonstrates the complex interactin of these forces, and does so for a topic as tangled as any in American history: the almost unbelievably intractable subject of railroading during the years 1840 to 1920." Thomas K. McCraw, Harvard Business School

"Steven Usselman describes the was in which young America's political values and mature America's engineering genius shaped railroad innovation. Masterfully mixing middle-level generalizations and encompassing detail, his history of railroading ranges from an early era of dynamic change to a recent one of stasis." Thomas P. Hughes, University of Pennsylvania, author of Rescuing Prometheus

"Usselman offers a fascinating account of he history of the early development of the railroad in the US and the pressures to innovate.... The many excellent stories and several photos included illustrate several of the railroad's innovations during this era. Recommended." Choice

"...a superb study of technological innovation in the first century of railroading. Both a deep analysis of the changing pattern and style of railroad innovation and a broad consideration of its relationship to the development of American society, Usselman imbeds technology in a richly detailed history in which contingency and social choice play central roles. The book's focus on innovation and its analysis of the connections between technological change and economic, social, and political conditions are original and make it the most important study of the rise and development of the modern corporation since Alfred Chandler's The Visible Hand. The book deepens as well our understanding of American political economy." 2003 OAH Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony

"...the book contains valuable insights on the sources and nature of technological change....The casae study of how these networks evaluated and helped improve and diffuse new rail technology around the turn of the twentieth century is nicely done and emphasizes the importance of incremental technological improvements in productivity growth." Journal of Economic History

"[T]his book sheds important new light on the interplay of technical change, business innovation, and political is both informative and compelling in illuminating an elusive subject." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Steven W. Usselman's Regulating Railroad Innovation is a meticulously researched, carefully written, and long-awaited study of innovation in American railroading...His is a contextual account that captures the interactions of railroads with historical processes, resulting in a rich and mulitlayered narrative." Business History Review

Book Description

Efforts to create and mold new technologies have been a central, recurrent feature of the American experience since at least the time of the Revolution. Many of the most tumultuous events in the nation's history have, at their core, involved disputes over the appropriateness and desirability of particular technologies. In Regulating Railroad Innovation, historian Steven Usselman brings this neglected aspect of American History to light. For nearly a century, railroad technology persistently posed novel challenges for Americans, prompting them to reexamine their most cherished institutions and beliefs. Usselman traces their myriad struggles in rich detail.

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