Telegram!: Modern History as Told Through More Than 400 Witty, Poignant, and Revealing Telegrams

Telegram!: Modern History as Told Through More Than 400 Witty, Poignant, and Revealing Telegrams

by Linda Rosenkrantz
     
 

There was a time when the sight of a Western Union delivery boy coming up the walk filled Americans with a sense of excitement or trepidation. Between its invention in the mid-nineteenth century and its post-1960s relegation to money transfer and congratulations, the telegraph served as the primary medium for urgent messages. Telegram! collects the most

Overview

There was a time when the sight of a Western Union delivery boy coming up the walk filled Americans with a sense of excitement or trepidation. Between its invention in the mid-nineteenth century and its post-1960s relegation to money transfer and congratulations, the telegraph served as the primary medium for urgent messages. Telegram! collects the most poignant and revealing examples of this earliest form of instant communication.

Organized into categories such as "Parents and Children," "Hooray for Hollywood," and "Lincoln in the Telegraph Office," the telegrams range from such moving personal notes as W.C. Fields's wire to his dying friend John Barrymore, "You can't do this to me," to political advice, such as one voter's telegraphed suggestion to President Herbert Hoover: "Vote for Roosevelt and make it unanimous."

The communication compiled here also provides a novel and engaging perspective on modern history. Abraham Lincoln virtually conducted the Civil War over the telegraph wires, financial nabobs used them to discuss (and fail to predict) the stock market crash that precipitated the Great Depression, and Japanese diplomats in Washington sent a flurry of encoded telegrams to Tokyo in the weeks leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This handsome volume blends history, sociology, wit, and creativity as captured and dispatched by the telegram in its golden age.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Rosenkrantz uses the tales told in over 400 telegrams to demonstrate the vivid, intimate version of history they tell, one unrivaled by journalism. Civil War samples are plentiful, such as this part of Confederate General Beauregard's telegram after the bombardment of Fort Sumter: "Give in like a good fellow, and bring your garrison to dinner, and beds afterwards. Nobody injured, I hope?" Aside from revealing authors' personalities and providing contemporary accounts of events, the telegrams illustrate how the ability to communicate rapidly could shape events, as with decoded telegrams sent by Japanese officials before the Pearl Harbor attack. Playful messages sent between famous family members and friends-such as the Kennedy family or movie stars-illustrate the genre's lighter side. An introductory essay and a time line of the telegraph's development augment the work along with a thorough permissions section that documents sources. While Rosenkrantz presents the telegram as a genre, see David Paul Nickles's Under the Wire: How the Telegraph Changed Diplomacy for an exploration of the telegraph's political influence. A worthy purchase for public and academic libraries.-Marianne Orme, Des Plaines P.L., IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805071016
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.85(d)

Meet the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz is co-author of the bestselling baby-naming guide Beyond Jason & Jennifer and has written numerous other fiction and nonfiction books. She lives with her husband and daughter in Los Angeles.

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