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A History of Communications
Media and Society from the Evolution of Speech to the Internet


  • Date Published: February 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521179447

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • A History of Communications advances a theory of media that explains the origins and impact of different forms of communication - speech, writing, print, electronic devices and the Internet - on human history in the long term. New media are 'pulled' into widespread use by broad historical trends and these media, once in widespread use, 'push' social institutions and beliefs in predictable directions. This view allows us to see for the first time what is truly new about the Internet, what is not, and where it is taking us.

    • Advances a new theory of media
    • Revolutionises media-studies
    • Takes us far past Marshall McLuhan, the Frankfurt School and the Post-Modernists
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Based on a truly impressive range (as well as amount) of reading, arguing an original and convincing thesis, and written in a lucid and engaging style, this book deserves to reach a wide audience of students and scholars alike.' Peter Burke, University of Cambridge

    'The ambition and sweep of Marshall Poe's analysis of media make it different from anything else I have read on the topic. Many modern 'consumers' of media, in all its forms, have a vague sense that technological advances are altering their sense of the world in ways they can't fully appreciate in real time. Poe's book is a big advance in helping citizens understand the opportunities and problems the new media landscape offers.' James Fallows, The Atlantic

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521179447
    • length: 352 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: media causes and effects
    1. Homo loquens: humanity in the age of speech and memory
    2. Homo scriptor: humanity in the age of manuscripts
    3. Homo lector: humanity in the age of print
    4. Homo videns: humanity in the age of the audio-visual media
    5. Homo somnians: humanity in the age of Internet
    Conclusion: the media and human well-being.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Communication History
    • Fundamentals of speech communication
    • History of Media Communication
    • Impact of media on society
    • Intro to media studies
    • Introduction to Communication
    • Issues and Trends in Educational Technology
    • Mass Communication and Society
    • Mass Media and Society
    • Media History and Communication Policy
    • Media Technologies and Culture
    • New Media and Society
    • Science and the Media
    • The History of Media
    • U.S. Media History
    • World Civilizations Since the 16th Century
    • Writing on the Web
  • Author

    Marshall T. Poe, University of Iowa
    Marshall T. Poe, Associate Professor of History at the University of Iowa, is the author or editor of several books, including A People Born to Slavery: Russia in Early Modern European Ethnography (2000), The Russian Elite in the Seventeenth Century (2004) and The Russian Moment in World History (2006). He is the co-founder and editor of Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History and founder and host of 'New Books in History' (, as well as a former writer and editor for the Atlantic Monthly. Professor Poe has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton University), Harriman Institute (Columbia University) and the Kennan Institute (Washington, DC).

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