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Your next book title: The Making of America and the Making of America

Masters of EmpireDefiance of the PatriotsI’m now reading an advance copy of Mike McDonnell’s wonderful, soon-to-be-released Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America (2015).  And recently, in a conversation with Cody Osterman (one our fine ACS grad students, as well as a funny guy), we were talking about Ben Carp’s fine Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America (2010).  Which got us thinking, how many books have that in the subtitle?  And what does it all mean?

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The Pit Barrel Cooker and the history (and future) of technology

Me and my Pit Barrel CookerImagine a new cooking device that can reduce the time of a particular cooking technique by a third or more, uses half the energy, produces more uniform results, and requires less attention on the part of the cook.  In the history of technology, such an advance in efficiency would be considered a major breakthrough that could change the relation of the laborer to the technology.  In today’s discourse on technology, we would imagine that such an advance would only be possible through major research and possibly the use of newly-engineered, specialized materials (I guess we don’t call them “space age materials” anymore).  But neither is the case: it’s merely stuff we’ve already had, arranged in a slightly different way.  Is that really “new” technology, and how does this sort of invention make us think differently about the the history and future of technology?  And, just as importantly, how did my chicken and ribs turn out?

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