The Columbia History of American Television / Edition 1

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Overview

Richly researched and engaging, The Columbia History of American Television tracks the growth of TV into a convergent technology, a global industry, a social catalyst, a viable art form, and a complex and dynamic reflection of the American mind and character. Renowned media historian Gary R. Edgerton follows the technological progress and increasing cultural relevance of television from its prehistory (before 1947) to the Network Era (1948-1975) and the Cable Era (1976-1994). He considers the remodeling of television's look and purpose during World War II; the gender, racial, and ethnic components of its early broadcasts and audiences; its transformation of postwar America; and its function in the political life of the country. In conclusion, Edgerton takes a discerning look at our current Digital Era and the new forms of instantaneous communication that continue to change America's social, political, and economic landscape.
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Editorial Reviews

The Virginian-Pilot
A useful overview... [that] captures the technological, economic, and cultural sweep of an industry that influenced... what would become the Global Village.

— Bill Ruehlmann

CHOICE
An extensive, readable... informative, well-written study... Recommended.
Communication Booknotes Quarterly
A tour-de-force narrative of more than six decades of American television and its impact on U.S. society.... An important contribution.

— Christopher H. Sterling

American Reference Books Annual
An excellent addition to any undergraduate library and also a nice addition to public libraries.

— Linda W. Hacker

Film & History
A marvelous, detailed, and comprehensive narrative... This remarkable book, unquestionably one-of-a-kind, belongs in every reference library.

— Robert Fyne

Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Positioned with the monumental works of Erik Barnouw, Asa Briggs, Christopher Sterling and John Kittross, Edgerton contributes a comprehensive study of American television's popular culture.... The Columbia History of American Television should be on the shelf of every television historian and popular culture scholar, as well as the non-specialist.

— Donald G. Godfrey

The Midwest Book Review
A seminal work of meticulous scholarship... Welcome and highly recommended.

— James A. Cox

Journal of American Studies
Highly informative... eminently readable... Edgerton tells a compelling history of the medium. His book would work well as a primer for general readers, as well as for scholars (particularly international readers) wanting to gain an understanding of the history, forms, and economics of the U.S. television system as well as pointers for further research from his meticulous referencing.

— Faye Woods

American Journalism
[The book] is meticulous and inspired. Devoted to television, it is richly resourced, eloquently written, and nicely illustrated.

— Craig Allen

Journal of American History
This book is best seen as an update of Erik Barnouw's widely read and concise history, Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television. Moving beyond Barnouw, Edgerton has attempted to craft a unified narrative that simultaneously engages some of the more fine-grained scholarship in the field.... A highly readable account of the development of a complex industry and cultural form.

— Michael Kackman

Media International Australia
A monumental and definitive account of American television.

— Jason Jacobs

Choice
An extensive, readable... informative, well-written study... Recommended.
The Virginian-Pilot - Bill Ruehlmann
A useful overview... [that] captures the technological, economic, and cultural sweep of an industry that influenced... what would become the Global Village.
Communication Booknotes Quarterly - Christopher H. Sterling
A tour-de-force narrative of more than six decades of American television and its impact on U.S. society.... An important contribution.
American Reference Books Annual - Linda W. Hacker
An excellent addition to any undergraduate library and also a nice addition to public libraries.
Film & History - Robert Fyne
A marvelous, detailed, and comprehensive narrative... This remarkable book, unquestionably one-of-a-kind, belongs in every reference library.
Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media - Donald G. Godfrey
Positioned with the monumental works of Erik Barnouw, Asa Briggs, Christopher Sterling and John Kittross, Edgerton contributes a comprehensive study of American television's popular culture.... The Columbia History of American Television should be on the shelf of every television historian and popular culture scholar, as well as the non-specialist.
The Midwest Book Review - James A. Cox
A seminal work of meticulous scholarship... Welcome and highly recommended.
Journal of American Studies - Faye Woods
Highly informative... eminently readable... Edgerton tells a compelling history of the medium. His book would work well as a primer for general readers, as well as for scholars (particularly international readers) wanting to gain an understanding of the history, forms, and economics of the U.S. television system as well as pointers for further research from his meticulous referencing.
American Journalism - Craig Allen
[The book] is meticulous and inspired. Devoted to television, it is richly resourced, eloquently written, and nicely illustrated.
Journal of American History - Michael Kackman
This book is best seen as an update of Erik Barnouw's widely read and concise history, Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television. Moving beyond Barnouw, Edgerton has attempted to craft a unified narrative that simultaneously engages some of the more fine-grained scholarship in the field.... A highly readable account of the development of a complex industry and cultural form.
Media International Australia - Jason Jacobs
A monumental and definitive account of American television.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231121644
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/5/2007
  • Series: Columbia Histories of Modern American Life Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary R. Edgerton is professor and chair of the communication and theater arts department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He has published eight books and more than seventy book chapters and journal articles on a wide assortment of television and media history topics, and is coeditor of the Journal of Popular Film and Television. In 2004 he received the American Culture Association Governing Board Award for Outstanding Contributions to American Cultural Studies.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction xi

Part I Going Public 1

1 An Idea Whose Time Had Come: Imagining Television-Before 1940 3

2 Not Going According to Plan: Remodeling the Tube in a Time of Crisis-1940-1947 60

3 Learning to Live with Television: Technology, Gender, and America's Early TV Audiences Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley 91

Part II Becoming National 111

4 Here Comes Television: Remarking American Life-1948-1954 113

5 The Halcyon Years: Beyond Anyone's Wildest Dream-1955-1963 156

6 Television and the Presidency: Eisenhower and Kennedy Mary Ann Watson 205

Part III Becoming International 235

7 A Great Awakening: Prime Time for Network Television-1964-1975 237

8 The Sky's the Limit: Satellites, Cable, and the Reinvention of Television-1976-1991 285

9 The Changing Face of Television: Turner Broadcasting System Jimmie L. Reeves Michael M. Epstein 323

Part IV Becoming Global 347

10 The Business of America Is Show Business: U.S. TV in Global Context-1992-Present 349

11 The Greatest Show on Earth: The Cosby Show and the Ascent of U.S. Sitcoms in the Global Television Marketplace Timothy J. Havens 390

12 Tune in Locally, Watch Globally: The Future of Television in the Age of the Internet 410

Notes 427

General Index 477

Television Programming Index 489

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