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Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922

Overview

Such organizations as AT&T, General Electric, and the U.S. Navy played major roles in radio's evolution, but early press coverage may have decisively steered radio in the direction of mass entertainment. Susan J. Douglas reveals the origins of a corporate media system that today dominates the content and form of American communication.

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Overview

Such organizations as AT&T, General Electric, and the U.S. Navy played major roles in radio's evolution, but early press coverage may have decisively steered radio in the direction of mass entertainment. Susan J. Douglas reveals the origins of a corporate media system that today dominates the content and form of American communication.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Good history of technology integrates institutional and economic history with biographies and technical events, then assesses these against a backdrop of their social and political milieu. It is cultural history in the broadest sense. The book by Abramson fails to do this: although it presents a massive quantity of research, the arrangement is almost strictly chronological, with no discussion of the impact of technical developments other than on subsequent technical events. Although the book is firmly grounded in the literature, its lack of a nontechnical framework severely limits its usefulness and makes for dull reading. For comprehensive collections only. Douglas's history of early radio is the converse: it assesses technical developments against their social and political background, brings to life important individuals, and clarifies their motives, strengths, and weaknesses. In key chapters, the author discusses the major role played by the press in deciding who would control the airwaves and argues that the Navy was not the positive developmental influence it was once thought to be. A solid work of scholarship, recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Donald J. Marion, Univ. of Minnesota Inst. of Technology Libs., Minneapolis
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Meet the Author

Susan J. Douglas is professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Michigan.

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