Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (July 31, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.8 x 10.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #542,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #183 in Books > Computers & Technology > History & Culture > History #264 in Books > Textbooks > Communication & Journalism > Journalism #571 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Reference > History
It would be difficult to be alive and even partially aware in the USA or any developed country right now and not experience how electronics and rapidly changing technology are shaping our lives. I'm one who was around when there was only radio and no TV, then black and white TV, and finally color TV, the snail-paced Commodore computers, personal Atari video games you could plug into that TV set, and then IBM computers with even 10 MB hard drives--a miracle! It has been a whirlwind of change, sometimes nearly shocking. Now with the explosion of handheld devices and the social media (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube) where's it all headed? Good question, and one that will affect us all.This book could easily qualify as a doctoral thesis, but it is written far better than a lot of them, I'll wager. It is beautifully written, down to earth, reader-friendly for sure. Yet it is also impressively scholarly. If you would like to read about where we have been, where we are, and where we will be going with TV, handheld devices, etc.--at least the basic directions--here's your book. Filled with well-documented research and statistics, including websites to visit for more information, and the publisher's website where you can extend your reading even further, thorough chapter-by-chapter notes and a detailed index at the end, this book also includes useful lists of contents at the head of each chapter.You get a history of electronic media overviews of radio, TV, cable, satellite, microwave, and internet. Also there is a behind-the-scenes look at broadcast media, including how advertising works. Ever wonder how ratings work? See pages 159 and following. And there is much more.
There is an insane amount of information packed into the 306 pages of this book. One of the most important contributions these authors make is providing a concise history of the media - anyone over the age of forty is old enough to have this kind of basic knowledge in their heads because we were there. You can say 'Smile! You're on Candid Camera' and get an instant laugh from someone over the age of forty. The authors find a way to connect younger readers (the ones who will most likely be buying this as a textbook) with the history of media. Does it matter? Should a young person need to know the meaning of 'Smile! You're on Candid Camera?' Maybe. Or maybe not. But I would argue that cultural familiarity and an understanding of the history of media has a place in the education of young people.This book offers a well-organized documentation of the history of media, the media world that existed before the internet, and the authors find ways to make the history of TV and radio broadcsting relevant to the www generation. The media world didn't start with the world wide web, and there was a world before CNN, but I was a bit disappointed with the chapter on the history of cable television. Some of us have always had cable TV in our homes (I never had cable, but I knew people who did, from the late 1960s onward) but the authors made cable TV seem like a 1980s phenomenon, and I felt as if the book focused too much on the regulatory details of cable TV history. The cultural importance of cable TV was disregarded completely, with no mention of the Z channel, for instance.
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