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The Making of a Profession: A Century of Electrical Engineering in America. By A. Michal McMahon. New York: IEEE Press, 1984. xv + 304 pp. Illustrations, notes, and index. $39.95.
To mark its centennial anniversary, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) commissioned historian A. Michal McMahon to write this book. Judging by the product of his work, McMahon saw his agenda as an ambitious one--to chronicle, for both engineers and nontechnical readers, the development of electrical engineering and of the leading professional organizations that eventually became the IEEE.
The American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) was formed in 1884 primarily by telegraph technicians, but the impetus for its first great growth phase came hum the emerging electric light and power industry. Even during these early years, critical issues regarding engineering …