The General: David Sarnoff and the Rise of the Communications Industry

Kenneth W. Bilby, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22.95 (326p) ISBN 978-0-06-015568-1
Early champion of home radio, creator of the first national broadcasting network and pioneer of color TV, RCA's president Sarnoff did more than anyone to bring electronic technology to the public, in the view of Bilby, a corporate associate. With empathy, he traces Sarnoff's life and career, the rise of RCA and its decline after Sarnoff's departure, and television's impact on the life patterns, cultural values and politics of Americans. The Russian-Jewish-immigrant wireless operator, a disciple of Marconi, rose rapidly to the presidency of RCA at age 39 and ruled for 35 years an empire that included the NBC network, manufacturing, RCA Victor phonograph and RKO motion pictures divisions. During World War II, RCA converted to defense production while Sarnoff as a reserve colonel, and later general, headed Allied communications in Europe. Postwar activity centered on color TV in fierce rivalry with CBS. In appraising Sarnoff's autocratic managerial style, Bilby makes comparisons with the Japanese who have the same kind of long-range commitment and perseverance. (September 10)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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