Synopses & Reviews
There was a time when the sight of a Western Union delivery boy coming up the walk filled Americans with a sense of excitement or trepidation. Between its invention in the mid-nineteenth century and its post-1960s relegation to money transfer and congratulations, the telegraph served as the primary medium for urgent messages. Telegram!
collects the most poignant and revealing examples of this earliest form of instant communication.
Organized into categories such as "Parents and Children," "Hooray for Hollywood," and "Lincoln in the Telegraph Office," the telegrams range from such moving personal notes as W.C. Fields's wire to his dying friend John Barrymore, "You can't do this to me," to political advice, such as one voter's telegraphed suggestion to President Herbert Hoover: "Vote for Roosevelt and make it unanimous."
The communication compiled here also provides a novel and engaging perspective on modern history. Abraham Lincoln virtually conducted the Civil War over the telegraph wires, financial nabobs used them to discuss (and fail to predict) the stock market crash that precipitated the Great Depression, and Japanese diplomats in Washington sent a flurry of encoded telegrams to Tokyo in the weeks leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
This handsome volume blends history, sociology, wit, and creativity as captured and dispatched by the telegram in its golden age.
A fascinating and delightful exploration of the history of the last 150 years through its most urgent messages. Not long ago, the sight of a Western Union delivery boy coming up the walk regularly filled Americans with excitment or trepidation. Between its invention in the mid-nineteenth century and its relegation to money transfer and congratulations in the years following the Second World War, the telegraph served as the primary medium for urgent messages. Telegrams. Stop. collects the most poignant and revealing examples of this early form of electronic communication. Organized into categories such as "Parents and Children, " "Hollywood, " and "Lincoln in the Telegraph Office, " the telegrams range from witty personal notes--such as Dorothy Parker's wire to her friend Mary Anderson on the birth of her first child: "Congratulations. We all knew you had it in you"--to political commentary--such as Will Rogers's telegraphed newspaper column, which once read, "It wasn't that Coolidge done nothin'. It was that he did it better than anyone else." This handsome volume is an innovative and entertaining reflection of recent history, approached through its most urgent messages.
About the Author
Linda Rosenkrantz is co-author of the bestselling baby-naming guide Beyond Jason & Jennifer and has written numerous other fiction and nonfiction books. She lives with her husband and daughter in Los Angeles.