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Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium Paperback – April 28, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0415249911 ISBN-10: 0415249910 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415249910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415249911
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this interesting if narrow work, Levinson (The Soft Edge, LJ 2/1/98) explains why Marshall McLuhans theories about the media are more relevant in todays digital age than when they were first presented during the age of television. Levinson points out that the Internet will be the vehicle for a convergence of books, television, and other media such as the telephone, thus making it much more, much different from any prior media. He then applies McLuhans tetrad, the four laws of media, which shift from warning us to remove our past-tinted glasses when looking at the future to indicating what type of territory we might see when those glasses are removed. McLuhan led the way in understanding the relationship of humans to technology; as Levinson attempts to show, his principles have been validated by the Internetwhich to many readers may already be obvious. Recommended for specialized collections.Joe J. Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Levinson continues the illuminating investigation into the evolution of information technologies and their effects on society that he began in The Soft Edge (1997) by offering a clarifying interpretation of the works of the guru of media studies, Marshall McLuhan. Many of McLuhan's intriguing concepts were difficult to grasp due, in part, to his tangled prose style, but primarily because they were far ahead of their time. Now, nearly 20 years after his death, his ideas have come to vivid life in relationship to the computer revolution. Levinson neatly explicates and makes productive use of McLuhan's theories. He shows how McLuhan's concept of the global village is fully manifest in the Internet, as is his concept of the "discarnate man," the beautiful vision of "light-through" --the hypnotic effect of light passing through glass, whether in stained glass windows, television, or computer screens--and his prediction of an inclusive super media. Always lucid and provocative, Levinson explores the psychological impact of digital technologies as well as their profound effects on work and play. Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

My novel The Silk Code won the Locus Award for Best First Nove1 of 1999, and was published as an "author's cut" Kindle edition in 2012. My other science fiction and mystery novels include Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002, 2013), The Pixel Eye (2003, 2014), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006; author's cut Kindle 2012; Entertainment Weekly called it "challenging fun"), and Unburning Alexandria (2013). My short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards. Nine nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (2009, 2nd edition 2012) have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Polish, and eight other languages. I appear from time to time on MSNBC, Fox News ("The O'Reilly Factor"), The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, NPR, BBC Radio and other TV and radio programs - I like talking just as much as writing. I'm also a songwriter, and have been in several bands over the years - one had two records out on Atlantic Records in 1960s. My 1972 album Twice Upon a Rhyme (on HappySad Records) was re-issued on CD by Beatball/Big Pink Records in 2009, and on re-pressed vinyl by Whiplash/Sound of Salvation Records in 2010. I was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009, and review the best of television on my Infinitte Regress.tv blog and on Starpulse. Last but not least: I have a PhD in Media Theory from New York University and am Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City.

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric Chuang on December 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Most people would agree that Marshall Mcluhan is the truly innovative, visionary character in media research. After Mcluhan, although there have been people trying to establish a different kind of theory or methodology regarding media research which is intended to be independent of Mcluhan's influence, their efforts seem to be fruitless. Most of their work becomes expansionary (and sometimes redundant) explanations of Mcluhan. We can discern from such a phenomenon that Mcluhan is indeed the master of modern media theory, and hence his work and ideas are requirements for those who are interested in this particular subject (as well as other sociological studies).
Therefore, I would recommend people to read Mcluhan's work in its originality first, try to develop their own way of critical thinking about media, and then apply the methodological approach to the study of the new medium, the Internet. I think Paul Levinson did the same thing in this book.
The writer did a lengthy analytical examination of the influence and potential of the new media whose development is instigated by recent enhancement of Internet related technologies. On the one hand, by adopting Mcluhan's media theory (tetrad, discarnate man, acoustic space, decentralization, global village¡K, etc.), the writer is able to come to the conclusion that the Internet will eventually become "the medium of media." On the other hand, the writer falls short of drawing evidence from other sides of the story such as technological, commercial, social, and governmental influences on future development of what he terms "the medium of media." Therefore, although the writer's optimism concluding that most people will benefit from the forthcoming growth of the Internet industry is encouraging enough, one may judge it to be a little too simplistic and naive.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Azlan Adnan on December 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Marshall McLuhan was a media theorist whose path-breaking insights about the impact of media are regarded as seminal.
Digital McLuhan is actually two intertwining books: one presents McLuhan's ideas about media and their impact upon our lives, the other presents the author's ideas about how McLuhan's ideas can help us make sense of our new digital age. It presents a lucid assessment and readable explication of McLuhan's method and 13 of his major insights and what they can tell us about the new world we are well on the way to creating. It highlights and explains the truly prophetic nature of McLuhan's theories on media. At the time they were first propounded, everyone thought McLuhan was talking about television, but what he was really talking about was the Internet-two decades before it appeared.
Paul Levinson explains the relevance of McLuhan's work for an understanding of new media. This guide to the information millennium is a deliberate wake-up call to those unaware of the profound power of the Internet to reshape our lives and society.
Paul Levinson is President and founder of Connected Education, offering postgraduates courses on the Internet for more than a decade. He is author of The Soft Edge, Mind at Large, Electronic Chronicles and Learning Cyberspace. He is visiting Professor of Communications at Fordham University in New York City. He obtained a PhD in Media Biology from New York University in 1979.
Reviewed by Azlan Adnan. Formerly Business Development Manager with KPMG, Azlan is currently Managing Partner of Azlan & Koh Knowledge and Professional Management Group, an education and management consulting practice based in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo. He holds a Master's degree in International Business and Management from the University of Westminster in London.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'm a multimedia artist and an educator, and McLuhan's metaphors have helped me grasp the media revolution that has been part of my life since the 50's My understanding of Marshall McLuhan's media concepts has improved by a quantum leap since reading Dr. Paul Levinson's digital mcluhan. This book has helped me understand how my early studies of media in the `60s, influenced by McLuhan, relate to my interest in digital media today. The writing is scholarly, yet concise and easy to understand. The author communicates joy in being able to tie everything together into our emerging Internet-centric multimedia universe. This is an academic book that should interest all educated media-savvy readers because of its clear, methodical explanation of McLuhan's insights. One of the best features of this tome is a clear, step by step discussion of McLuhan's metaphors: hot/cool media, the global village, acoustic/visual space, linear/mosaic, light-through/light-on, the "rear view mirror" of media perception, and the "tetrad" or four laws of media. "McLuhan asks four questions to clarify the nature & impact of a medium- 1. What does it enhance or amplify in the culture? 2. What does it obsolesce or push out of prominence? 3. What does it retrieve from the past, from the realm of the previously obsolesced? 4. What doees the medium reverse or flip into when it reaches the limits of its potential?" Now I will attempt to apply these media metaphors to my career as a multimedia artist. Professor George Drury, of the Humanistic Studies first introduced me to McLuhan in 1966 at Monteith College, Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Knowing my interest in multimedia, he suggested that I read Understanding Media while I was taking his Seminar on the Divine Comedy.Read more ›
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