cover image The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

James Gleick, read by Rob Shapiro. Random House Audio, unabridged, 14 CDs, 16.5 hrs., $50 ISBN 978-0-3079-1496-5

Overwhelmed as we are with today's unceasing gush of information%E2%80%94some essential, some useless, and much falling into the broad middle of the spectrum%E2%80%94a study of how we got here and the innovators who played a part in creating the dazzling web of contemporary communications could not be more timely. Gleick's survey of pioneers of information, from Alan Turing to Claude Shannon, follows the many-layered strands forming the information superhighway. Rob Shapiro, slightly nasal, reads in measured fashion, pausing luxuriously between sentences and paragraphs to allow Gleick's own gush of information to sink in. Shapiro's stateliness makes for an artful contrast with Gleick's study of go-go modernity; listening to the audiobook manages to not add to the feeling of being overwhelmed. A Pantheon hardcover. (Mar.)