Lubar traces the development of the communications infrastructure in the United States beginning with the telegraph, telephone, and radio, continuing with the advent of computer-assisted communications, and culminating in the multimedia hybrids now evolving. Curator of the Smithsonian Institution's Natural History Museum, Lubar has a comprehensive grasp of the engineering and mechanics underlying these developments, but he also analyzes how they have affected the American public. And he does not feel that all this change has necessarily been positive or productive--too often we've simply automated our problems instead of providing good solutions. This is an interesting and wide-ranging study for all technology collections.-- Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Liver more, Cal.
The materials gathered for the Smithsonian's "Information Age" exhibit provided the foundation for the book (and its illustrations). It chronicles the history of communication--in words and pictures, and via telegraph and telephone; entertainment--recorded sound, movies, radio, television and beyond; and information--before computers, and beyond computers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Denise Perry Donavin
The evolution of the "astonishing electronic infostructure surrounding us all" is the focus of Lubar's historic, contemporary, and prophetic survey. Lubar blends technological facts with public opinion to describe major inventions that have led to today's computer age. Looking back at the suspicious reception of such taken-for-granted items as the telephone or the telegraph gives a new perspective to the possibilities of virtual reality and thinking machines. There is a depth of technical information, but Lubar will reach both the merely curious and the researcher, the latter of whom will benefit from his extensive bibliographies.