Author Jo Guldi Presents "Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State"

Union Club of Chicago's Authors Group

Business Book Roundtable

March 21, 2012: 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Chicago Booth Business Book Roundtable, celebrating 10 years of service to the Chicago community, invites alumni, students, faculty, and guests to a luncheon event co-hosted by the Chicago Booth Business Book Roundtable and the Union League Club's Authors Group.


Union League Club of Chicago
65 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois

Driving Directions:

Valet and indoor parking available. 

Event Details

Book Summary:

Roads to Power tells the story of how Britain built the first nation connected by infrastructure, how a libertarian revolution destroyed a national economy, and how technology caused strangers to stop speaking.

In early eighteenth-century Britain, nothing but dirt track ran between most towns. By 1848 the primitive roads were transformed into a network of highways connecting every village and island in the nation—and also dividing them in unforeseen ways. The highway network led to contests for control over everything from road management to market access. Peripheries like the Highlands demanded that centralized government pay for roads they could not afford, while English counties wanted to be spared the cost of underwriting roads to Scotland. The new network also transformed social relationships. Although travelers moved along the same routes, they occupied increasingly isolated spheres. The roads were the product of a new form of government, the infrastructure state, marked by the unprecedented control bureaucrats wielded over decisions relating to everyday life.

Does information really work to unite strangers? Do markets unite nations and peoples in common interests? There are lessons here for all who would end poverty or design their markets around the principle of participation. Guldi draws direct connections between traditional infrastructure and the contemporary collapse of the American Rust Belt, the decline of American infrastructure, the digital divide, and net neutrality. In the modern world, infrastructure is our principal tool for forging new communities, but it cannot outlast the control of governance by visionaries.



$35.00, book excluded


Register Online

Reservations required by 9:00 am Wednesday, March 21st.

Book is not included but will be available for sale at the event.

Business or business casual attire required.  Jeans are not allowed.

Deadline: 3/21/2012


11:30 AM-1:30 PM: Noon Luncheon followed by author presentaton & book signing

Speaker Profiles

Joanna Guldi (Speaker)
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History, University of Chicago, and a Junior Fellow at the Soc

Joanna Guldi is Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History, University of Chicago, and a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University. She runs the Landscape Studies Podcast. Ms. Guldi also is a historian of technology and landscape whose current work focuses on the relationship between infrastructure and society. She writes passionately about how government manages questions of responsibility for transport, trade, and public space, applying the context of state-building since 1650 to contemporary issues of infrastructure, politics, and the market.


Dana Damyen, '02 
TwoRoads Solutions, Principal

Other Information

Business or business casual attire required.  Jeans are not allowed.