The Network: The Battle for the Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age

Scott Woolley. Ecco, $26.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-224275-4
Woolley, a technology and business writer, traces the development of communications technology from the telegraph to the television to the first visions of the Internet. He frames these advances with the story of the complicated friendship between David Sarnoff, a media mongul who rose to the helm of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and Edwin Armstrong, prolific inventor who developed, among other game-changing technologies, the first amplifier to enable telegraph signal reception from greater distances. In this short but magnetic narrative, Woolley shows how, despite their differences, the men connected through their mutual understanding of "the power and possibility of the invisible waves." Both figures were truly visionary, especially Sarnoff, who led the charge on radio broadcasting and color television and articulated a vision that prophesied the Internet. Yet for both Sarnoff and Woolley, innovation was obstructed by corporate interest, and government agencies were unwilling to intercede. This classic struggle—visionaries with revolutionary ideas and capabilities against established interests—drives the book's narrative. By focusing on a handful of characters, Woolley avoids getting bogged down in excessive technological and scientific detail, legal nuances, and biographical minutiae, and instead crafts a highly readable, plot-driven narrative that illuminates the genesis of innovations that many readers take for granted. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-224277-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-247617-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-1695-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-1696-3
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-2755-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-3079-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-224276-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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