Digital Apollo, by David Mindell (development of Apollo guidance and avionics generally)
The Dream Machine by Mitchell Waldrop (technical development leading up to the Arpanet, thence to the Internet)
Colossus, the secrets of Bletchley Park's codebreaking computers, by Jack Copeland et al.
Unfortunately, there's a lot more of the technically unsophisticated junk that Knuth is complaining about, and the excuses offered here rather badly miss the point. ("The history of software is not the history of computer science". Yes, and so? How does a history of software from which all technical detail has been drained away contribute anything of value?)
Let me reiterate one recommendation in particular, Mechanizing Proof, by Donald MacKenzie. This is a superb introduction to the technical subject of formal methods as well as a superb history! My only regret is that it was published in 2001 and a lot happened in the last decade.
Google is your friend and Bob's your uncle.
Worldcat indicates that the book is available from various libraries: https://www.worldcat.org/title/ignition-an-informal-history-...
The science was so good that I got a bad grade on my History class paper, because I focused too much on the science and not so much on the "storytelling" of history. Which apparently puts me in good company slongside Knuth :-)
Now that you have mentioned it, inventors and technology are treated in a similar fashion. Not sure why. Maybe because historic biographies adopt their methodology from general history where kings and generals are simply dots in a larger picture that does try to describe the society of the time?
1. A timeline where you ought to remember what happened before and after that thing.
2. Objectify events based on causal reasoning presented in the books itself. For example "America got dragged into WWII because of an unprovoked attack by Japan that caused a massive loss of life and military resources"
And the share volume of world history covered in a year or so makes it so hard to do any justice to a topic.
The entire planet gets into a war in the early 1900s because some two-bit archduke of something-or-other got shot? WTF? Woah, back up there, Teach; you've got some explaining to do. (And when I read the explanation years later, I still go "WTF?")
Point is, if the cliche is correct then we're doomed to repeat history again and again because there seems to be little effort to explain why things happened. What the hell was the U. S. doing in some dot on the map in Southeast Asia in the 60s? Domino theory? C'mon, I doubt anyone believed that even at the time if a ten-year old version of myself is saying, "how dumb do you think I am?"
But, as you mention, it would seem that there's little enough time to teach the timeline, let alone explain the treaty situation of early 1900s Europe such that WWI makes sense.
Btw I was at the WWI memorial in Kansas City (created just a few years after the war) and they list Darwin as a cause of the war! The leaders of the world had read his "Origin of the Species". It was variously interpreted politically to mean 'the strongest culture will win' and used by the German leadership to justify war. War was natural, it would winnow the nations down to just those worthy of survival, and Germany was the most worthy.
The cause of war is not usually taught. It's the events that led up to war that is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Events_leading_to_the_attack_on...
Does anyone know of resources (books, websites, etc) on historical advances that does actually cover the technology?