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.
'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