Sex, Bombs & Burgers

An Unholy Trinity

A fun and fascinating exploration of modern technology, Sex, Bombs, and Burgers reveals how the billion-dollar military, pornography and fast-food industries have shaped our everyday lives. It’s also a chronicle of popular culture, chock-full of surprising revelations. Take a look around your home. Your microwave? A British military scientist invented its technology by accident while trying to devise a death ray to blow up enemy planes. Your handheld video recorder? Developed by the military in World War II but adopted and made affordable by post-war pornographers. That vacuum robot on late-night infomercials? Born of a mine sniffer patrolling the caves of Afghanistan.

From the unexpected origins of aerosols, silly putty, and the Internet to Saran Wrap, Tupperware, and video games, here is an engaging look at modern life as we know it.

Available in: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea.


“Nowak’s study of the interconnectedness of the costs and consequences of technological and cultural innovation is occasionally troubling, but consistently entertaining.” - Publishers Weekly

“Witty and well-researched… an engaging read, leaving one with several ‘I did not know that’ moments.” - The Globe and Mail

“His conclusions are indeed thought-provoking. You can think of it, if you wish, as a modern version of Mandeville’s The Fable of the Bees, which proposed that society’s vices are actually good for overall economic health.” - The Guardian

“An excellent eye for the riveting and the ridiculous.” - The Wall Street Journal

“It’s a highbrow book.” - Steve Paikin, TVO’s The Agenda

“An enjoyable and informative history of the surprising origins of some of the technological ‘marvels’ that underpin the modern world.” - BBC Focus

“An alarming, creepy and kind of funny insight into modern life… I promise you that you will find out some things that simply amaze you.” - Richard Fidler, ABC Radio’s In Conversation

“These chapters are hugely entertaining. Nowak – an experienced journalist – confidently treads where other historians of technology might avoid.” - New Scientist