Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $45.50
  • Save: $4.45 (10%)
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Network Nation: Inventing... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by sms113
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Bright, clean, crisp book. Text unmarked. Ships fast with free tracking.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications Hardcover – April 12, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$41.05
$32.50 $25.05

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$41.05 FREE Shipping. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications
  • +
  • Everybody Ought to Be Rich: The Life and Times of John J. Raskob, Capitalist
  • +
  • Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956
Total price: $90.89
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

Network Nation is an extraordinary feat of scholarly imagination. Richard John's sweeping history of the telecommunications industry reveals as much about the development of the American state and of the culture of technology as about the rise of a troubled monopoly. Like Alfred Chandler's The Visible Hand, it is one of few institutional studies that anyone with a serious interest in U.S. history should read. (Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan)

A foundational business history that will be an essential component of what well-educated Americans need to know about their society. (Richard White, Stanford University)

In a compact, learned-yet-lucid, and deeply informed book spanning roughly eight decades, Richard R. John provides an engrossing history of the emergence of telecommunication networks in the United States. (David A. Hounshell, Carnegie Mellon University)

The innovators who built America's telecommunication networks created more than new devices. With elegant prose and exhaustive research, Richard R. John's eagerly awaited masterwork shows how business and governmental institutions shaped the first century of the telegraph and the telephone. (Pamela Walker Laird, author of Pull: Networking and Success since Benjamin Franklin)

This is a valuable book on the technological and economic trends that impacted the popularization of the telephone, one of the most profoundly significant inventions in the record of humanity. To understand the history of American telecommunications is to attend to the political economies at the time technological innovation occurred. John brilliantly articulates this context. Shifting municipal and federal sensibilities always shaped the diffusion of technologies, even in times where strong federal governmental oversight did not yet exist. The threat of federal and municipal government ownership of telecommunication systems was real, as seen in the case of the Bell system (and its failure). (Jim Hahn Library Journal)

Could it be that Americans actually like communications monopolists? Do we want dominant firms to run our world? Richard R. John's splendid book helps to answer that question by telling us just where this American affection for info-monopoly came from. John has produced a detailed study of the grand-daddies of it all: AT&T and Western Union, the first great info-monopolists, whose role in communications history is similar to that of the Allosaurus and the T. rex in the history of the animal kingdom. A work of careful history based on archival research, Network Nation begins with Samuel Morse's construction of the first electric telegraph line in 1844 and concludes with the establishment of AT&T (or Bell, a term that can be used interchangeably with AT&T) as America's regulated telephone monopoly… What Network Nation does deliver is a nuanced answer to the basic question, why monopoly? (Tim Wu New Republic 2011-06-09)

This is a richly detailed and readable book that fills an important gap in the history of communication networks. It definitively debunks palaver about mass communications as an autonomous agent of change, emphasizing how Americans constructed the telegraph and the telephone through a political process of continual negotiation and redefinition. (David E. Nye American Historical Review 2011-02-01)

[An] exceptional new history of American communications technologies from 1840 to 1920. (Steven W. Usselman Business History Review 2011-09-01)

About the Author

Richard R. John is Professor of History at Columbia University.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

China
Engineering & Transportation Books
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (May 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067402429X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674024298
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.6 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
50%
4 star
50%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book, based on new archives, presents a wealth of new information on Western Union and Bell. An invaluable resource. In particular, possibly the most useful book on Western Union yet published. The Bell sections present new information that threatens many of the existing theories of why AT&T came to rule American telecommunications as a private regulated monopoly.
Comment 15 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
John says "The first electrical communications media--the telegraph and the telephone--were products not only of technological imperatives and economic incentives, but also of governmental institutions and civic ideals." He points out at the outset that the telegraph was no "Victorian internet," and that even the much more popular telephone system was really only used by regular people for local calls until World War II. These tools were mostly used by elites, and the businessmen who ran them had a very narrow vision of their potential market. John mentions the concept of the "network effect," (that the value of a network expands with its user base), but suggests that historians might be wrong to project our understanding of it onto even the most forward-looking 19th century telegraph developers. He distinguishes between the skills and temperament of inventors and innovators, suggesting that like Samuel F.B. Morse himself, the people who patented the technology were often not the ideal developers of nationwide systems.

The issue of patenting, actually, turns out to be a prime example of the intersection of technology, business, and government. Morse built his historic Washington-Baltimore demonstration line with a $30,000 grant from Congress. And from 1837 through the granting of the all-important patent in 1840, and its subsequent defense and promotion, the "assistance" that patent commissioner Henry L. Ellsworth gave Morse, his friend of over thirty years, was "little short of astounding." Similarly, Postmaster General Amos Kendall actively promoted "the rapid diffusion of intelligence" through telegraphy, and then went to work for Morse defending his patents. But the patenting of technical improvements was new and controversial. "Scientist Joseph Henry...refused as a matter of principle."
Comment 1 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications
This item: Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications
Price: $41.05
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: communication skills