Book: The Language of Work: Technical Communication at Lukens Steel 1810 to 1925

The Language of Work: Technical Communication at Lukens Steel, 1810 to 1925 (Baywood's Technical Communications Series)The Language of Work: Technical Communication at Lukens Steel, 1810 to 1925 by Carol Siri Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading this as a required text for a graduate course, I assumed that I’d probably have to force myself through it–at least at some level. To my pleasant surprise, Johnson’s study of the coevolution of a steel mill and its technical communication at the turn of the 20th century is not only a compelling scholarly analysis, but a very well-written one at that.

At the same time that she traces out a timeline from prediscursive record-keeping and personal verbal communications to an eventually chirographic technical communication involving reports, drawing, graphs, and writing of all kinds, Johnson relays a very engaging narrative of a small, family-run post-revolutionary war Pennsylvania ironworks that would eventually become one of the leading twentieth-century specialty steelmakers in the world. Most of all, Johnson unwinds the complexity of relationships between manufacturing technology, industry, management, workers, drawing and writing, writing technologies and the technical communicators that created them (from owners and foremen to stenographers, secretaries, and consultants).

This book is a good one–whether you’re interested in engineering and the steel industry or interested in a historical view of technical communication. A very good study.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s