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The Telegraph in America, 1832-1920 (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology) Hardcover – November 20, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In The Telegraph in America, 1832–1920, David Hochfelder provides a taut and consistently intelligent history of the telegraph in American life. The book is notable for both its topical breadth―encompassing war, politics, business, journalism, and everyday life―as well as its focused, argument-driven chapters.

(New Books in Communications)

The author... develops nuanced analyses to the impact of telegraphy on upon American life.

(EH.Net)

Hochfelder’s work is exemplary in its caution about mediator technology-specific claims to exceptionalism or determinism. This authoritative and persuasive book will remain an essential reference for scholars.

(American Historical Review)

For a quick assessment of telegraphy’s development and impact, this insightful book is hard to beat.

(Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly)

While offering new insights into the relationship between Western Union and Associated Press, Hochfelder's strongest contribution to the history of telegraphy is his analysis of wiring on financial markets and the subsequent spread of speculation and gambling fueled by private wires and telegraph ticker services.

(MAKE: A Literary Magazine)

Heavily researched and very clearly presented.

(Journal of American History)

This well-researched and lucidly argued book will prove indispensable to specialists in the history of technology, journalism, and finance.

(Richard R. John, Columbia University)

From the Back Cover

Telegraphy in the nineteenth century approximated the internet in our own day. Historian and electrical engineer David Hochfelder offers readers a comprehensive history of this groundbreaking technology, which employs breaks in an electrical current to send code along miles of wire. The Telegraph in America, 1832–1920 examines the correlation between technological innovation and social change and shows how this transformative relationship helps us to understand and perhaps define modernity.

The telegraph revolutionized the spread of information―speeding personal messages, news of public events, and details of stock fluctuations. During the Civil War, telegraphed intelligence and high-level directives gave the Union war effort a critical advantage. Afterward, the telegraph helped build and break fortunes and, along with the railroad, altered the way Americans thought about time and space. With this book, Hochfelder supplies us with an introduction to the early stirrings of the information age.

"In The Telegraph in America, 1832–1920, David Hochfelder provides a taut and consistently intelligent history of the telegraph in American life. The book is notable for both its topical breadth―encompassing war, politics, business, journalism, and everyday life―as well as its focused, argument-driven chapters."― New Books in Communications

"The author... develops nuanced analyses to the impact of telegraphy upon American life."― EH.Net

"Hochfelder’s work is exemplary in its caution about mediator technology–specific claims to exceptionalism or determinism. This authoritative and persuasive book will remain an essential reference for scholars."― American Historical Review

"For a quick assessment of telegraphy’s development and impact, this insightful book is hard to beat."― Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

David Hochfelder is an associate professor of history at University at Albany, SUNY.

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Product Details

  • Series: Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421407477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421407470
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This well-researched and thoughtful analysis of the history of the telegraph was a pleasure to read. The author successfully captures the key trends and events in the development of the telegraph -- its burgeoning relevance for communications during wartime, its growth as a Gilded Age monopoly, its social role in changing the ways people received news, its transformative role in the fundamental shift of financial markets from commodity- to speculation-based trading, and ultimately its demise as an example of technological succession -- and does so with concise and lucid prose. I would recommend this book not only to specialists in the field or students of the history of technology (I am neither), but to anyone with an interest in the birth of the modern, electronic information age.
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Format: Hardcover
Was it possible to send a signal directly from New York to San Francisco, on a single circuit?
Or, was the capacitance/leakage/resistance in the circuit too large, and it required "human repeaters"?
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