In this widely researched history of communication and information technologies, from the printing press to the Internet, Brian Winston argues that the development of new media forms, from the telegraph and the telephone to computers, satellites, and virtual reality, is the product of a constant play-off between social necessity and suppression: the unwritten law by which new technologies are introduced into society only insofar as their disruptive potential is limited. Winston's monograph asks difficult questions: How are new media born? How do they change? Moreover, how do they change us? He concludes that the information Revolution is not revolutionary. Current technologies are merely elaborating a process of change begun much earlier, and historical study of these alterations offers many insights into the potential effects of today's latest developments.American Association for History and Computing Prize for the Best Book of 1998
Winston's notes should not be missed; they contain historical nuggets and comment on the main text. A valuable history illuminated with a unique and insightful model applicable to other fields. Highly recommended as a replacement for the earlier volume.Choice, 3/99
With an impressive breadth of scholarship, the author makes an effective case...this book should provide a healthy counterweight to the hyperbole that currently surrounds talk and writing about the 'Information Age'.American Studies
About the Author
Brian Winston is Professor of Media at the University of Westminster. He is the author of Claiming the Real (1995) and Technologies of Seeing (1996).