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Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet Paperback – March 8, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0745644950 ISBN-10: 0745644953 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 3 edition (March 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745644953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745644950
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Every new mode of communication provokes passionate debate about its moral and social repercussions. Today we fret over the negative influence of television and the Internet; in the 16th century, it was feared that reading would arouse dangerous emotions, especially in women. Briggs (chancellor, Open Univ.) and Burke (Eyewitnessing) present many such parallels in this overview of media history. They also assert that no medium has ever completely supplanted another. Given their belief in the nonlinear evolution of media, the text moves dizzyingly back and forth, at times verging on stream of consciousness: "The ability to get to Mars would depend on advances in space communications, and this already had its own history in 1960, a point to which we must now return." The index (not seen) and a meticulous chronology should help to alleviate confusion. Readers may feel frustrated, however, by the lack of explanatory notes; the suggested reading for each chapter rarely gives the source for particular quotations or assertions. Recommended for academic libraries needing a general survey of media history. Susan M. Colowick, North Olympic Lib. Syst., Port Angeles, WA

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Media history may be the single most important chapter of human history. If we want to understand wars, revolutions, religions, and intellectual movements, then we must ultimately confront the question "Who communicated what to whom -- and how?" For both students and specialists, Briggs and Burke have produced the most comprehensive and concise synthesis of what we know about this subject.'
Jonathan Rose, Drew University

'A Social History of the Media is the best synthetic overview of media history available, and is deservedly becoming the standard introduction to its topic. Far more than any competing textbook, this book thoroughly integrates the development of the mass media into the wider fabric of social, cultural, economic, and political history.'
Mark Hampton, Lingnan University and co-editor of Media History

'A richly informative account of developments from Gutenberg to Google by two of Britain's leading social and cultural historians. Highly recommended as a source book for all students of media.'
Paddy Scannell, University of Michigan

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alan Ganger on February 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book has a lot of arcane references. It tries to cover a lot of different aspects regarding the impact of communication media, but if you're looking for a "big picture" book, this might not be for you. It doesn't always connect the dots. It jumps between a lot of very specific examples. You sometimes wonder where they pull an example from. Ah, yes, Charles V visiting Bologna in 1529, of course. I remember it well. An example from the chapter on print:

"In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, small books became popular, the octavo, for instance, or the still smaller 12mo or 16mo format, which the famous Venetian printer Aldo Manuzio used for his editions of the classics."

The authors drop a lot of knowledge like this throughout the book, not always with enough context. But it's sort of up to you to follow up with some of these historical events or figures if you want to know more about it.

Edit: Ah, the authors are from the UK? I was wondering why John Logie Baird got more attention than Philo Pharnsworth.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By phil jones on December 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Like other books I've read by Peter Burke, this is a great and informative work. Here he covers the "print revolution in context" showing the who, where, and how of the rise of printing, and discussing it's interaction with the continuing other media types such as oral communication, hand-written documents and visual images (woodcut printing, religious paintings and statuary). He also shows the political and religious conflicts and issues which are locked in a feedback loop with the development of the media.
Fascinating to compare to the rise of modern media types like weblogs in conjunction with the present political discourse.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel on April 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
It is easy to read, however the book is jumping constantly in historical time. Then we are in the 1500, then the 1700 and then back to 1600. This sometimes makes it very confusing, and sometimes when reading I don't actually know what time I am in.
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By Joey on September 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
required for History of Mass. Comm. class. Long winded
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ROBERT OLIVAREZ on October 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exactly what I expected I am happy with my purchase and would recommend to anyone who is interested in this book.
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