Synopses & Reviews
This book makes the startling case that North Americans were getting on the "information highway" as early as the 1700's, and have been using it as a critical building block of their social, economic, and political world ever since.
By the time of the founding of the United States, there was a postal system and roads for the distribution of mail copyright laws to protect intellectual property, and newspapers, books, and broadsides to bring information to a populace that was building a nation on the basis of an informed electorate. In the 19th century, Americans developed the telegraph, telephone, and motion pictures, inventions that further expanded the reach of information. In the 20th century they added television, computers, and the Internet, ultimately connecting themselves to a whole world of information.
From the beginning North Americans were willing to invest in the infrastructure to make such connectivity possible. This book explores what the deployment of these technologies says about American society. The editors assembled a group of contributors who are experts in their particular fields and worked with them to create a book that is fully integrated and cross-referenced.
This is a pioneering effort to illustrate a simple fact-that the American information 'revolution' is anything but new.
"A grand story, stretching from colonial newspapers to the Internet. Information has been a driving force in American for 300 years, and anyone who wants to understand its role today would be well advised to read this book."--Hal Varian, University of California at Berkeley
"The chapters of this wonderful book take us through two centuries of technological, economic, and business history. The description and analysis of the present context and how it is likely to evolve is as rich as the historical analysis of the factors molding the use of information in the American economy in earlier years. What a treat!"--Richard R. Nelson, Columbia University
"This book provides a marvelous demonstration that the information didn't spring full blown from the creators of the world wide web, but has roots that reach back over three hundred years. The creation, propagation, and dissemenation of information has been a central characteristic of American life since the establishment of printing presses in multiple centers of the colonial economy. Through a well linked set of essays going forward through technological systems including the post office, the telegraph, the telephone, accounting and filing, radio, motion pictures, to computers and the internet, both the continuities and the discontinuities are made apparent. The several authors engage not only their readers, but each other as well. A Nation Transformed by Information is important reading not only for historians, but for anyone who wants to understand the age of dot.com."--Sheldon Hochheiser, Corporate Historian, AT&T
"This collection represents a timely and accomplished effort to provide invaluable historical perspectives on the long road to America's contemporary, information-rich society. Readers will rapidly appreciate that the Information Age, for all its novelty, has emerged from durable private- and public-sector commitments to broadening and speeding this nation's information flows."--Philip Scranton, Rutgers University and Hagley Museum and Library
About the Author
Alfred D. Chandler, Jr.
is Isidor Straus Professor of Business History, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School.
James W. Cortada is an Executive at IBM Global Services.
Table of Contents
1. The Information Age in Historical Perspective: Introduction, Alfred D. Chandler Jr.
2. Early American Origins of the Information Age, Richard D. Brown
3. Recasting the Information Infrastructure for the Industrial Age, Richard R. John
4. Business Use of Information and Technology during the Industrial Age, JoAnne Yates
5. The Threshold of the Information