Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890–1945

Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890–1945


Part of New Studies in European History

  • Date Published: January 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521093149

£ 35.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book examines the obsession for new technology that swept through Britain and Germany between 1890 and 1945. Drawing on a wide range of popular contemporary writings and pictorial material, it explains how, despite frequently feeling overwhelmed by innovations, Germans and Britons nurtured a long-lasting fascination for aviation, glamorous passenger liners and film as they lived through profound social transformations and two vicious wars. Public discussions about these 'modern wonders' were torn between fears of novel risks and cultural decay on the one hand, and passionate support generated by nationalism and social fantasies on the other. While the investigation focuses on tensions between technophobia and euphoria, the book also examines the relationship between responses to technology and the differing political cultures in Britain and Germany before and after 1933. This innovative study will prove invaluable reading to anyone interested in comparative cultural history as well as the history of technology.

    • A groundbreaking contribution to the comparative cultural history of Britain and Germany
    • Surveys the 'modern wonders' that fascinated contemporary society from aviation to passenger liners and cinema
    • Draws on an unusual range of sources
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Why not start this review with praise? Bernhard Rieger's book …. not only addresses a central theme in debates about modernity in the nineteenth and twentieth century; it is also fluently written and offers original insights for cultural historians and scholars interested in political questions. Finally, the author does not shy away from the big questions including National Socialism's modernity as well as the relationship between Nazi crimes and modern technology and science.' H-Soz-u-Kult

    Review of the hardback: ' …a far-reaching and penetrating account of how the 'culture of modernity' forever remade Britain and Germany … well written and clearly argued.' Paul Betts, Journal of Modern History

    Review of the hardback: ' … an original and welcome contribution … [Rieger] exercises his knack for inspired choices. Rieger's unique contribution is to identify the dynamic link between pessimism and optimism in all visions of modernity … an impressive engagement of scholarship.' Michael Thad Allen, Business History Review

    Review of the hardback: ' … a conceptually ambitious and substantively wide-ranging study … a fascinating, important, and provocative work that should be read by all those interested in how societies understand and promote technology.' Mary Nolan, Central European History

    From the hardback review: ' … very convincing … this bright book is also well written and tells a plethora of thrilling stories.' Ulrich Wengenroth, Historische Zeitschrift

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521093149
    • length: 332 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. 'Modern Wonders': technological innovation and public ambivalence
    3. Accidents: the physical risks of technology
    4. Elusive illusions: the cultural and political properties of film
    5. Pilots as popular heroes: risk, gender and the aeroplane
    6. 'Floating palaces': passenger liners as objects of pleasure
    7. Fantasy as social practice: the rise of amateur film
    8. Technology and the nation in Britain and Germany
    9. Conclusion

  • Author

    Bernhard Rieger, University College London
    Bernhard Rieger is Assistant Professor of History at the International University Bremen. He has coedited Meanings of Modernity: Britain from the Late-Victorian Era to World War II (2001) with Martin J. Daunton.

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.