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Tube of Plenty: The Ev...
Erik Barnouw
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Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  75 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Based on the classic History of Broadcasting in the United States, Tube of Plenty represents the fruit of several decades' labor. When Erik Barnouw--premier chronicler of American broadcasting and a participant in the industry for fifty years--first undertook the project of recording its history, many viewed it as a light-weight literary task concerned mainly with "enterta ...more
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Published May 31st 1990 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1975)
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Jul 08, 2010 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: communications majors, history students, television viewers
Recommended to Michael by: The Televised Mind Profs
I read Erik Barnouw's book as part of a course at The Evergreen State College, titled "The Televised Mind," the first of two fairly intensive Communications courses I took there (the second, year-long, course was "Recording and Structuring Light and Sound"). I'm not 100% certain I read the whole thing at that time, but I kept it around and read it a few years later and found it very interesting and informative. Barnouw's underlying question is whether television really should be seen only as a f ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film-video, america
This used to be a standard text in media studies classes - I am not sure who the champ is now, but it is safe to say that this used to be the most popular history of American television out there. This is a condensed version of a longer history that Barnouw wrote. It seems that this endeavor probably seems a lot less vital than it once did, back when television was America's number one pastime and source of information about the world. It may still be that, but the advent of the internet has clo ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Simone rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I read this for my media history class. It gets one star for the following reason, I don't think it's really a history of television. It's a history of some technology related to television and broadcasting, and then it's mainly a recounting of American history with some television bits thrown in. I don't think Barnouw likes television or feels affectionate towards any of it, except maybe some of the live anthology dramas of the 1950s. He's only interested in news, PBS, and "things that are seri
Worthwhile with a lot of buts. This book is a great read for recommendations of old television shows, and various tidbits of television information.

The first one hundred pages or so were really good. It was an interesting history of technology that allowed for radio and how that progressed into television. After that the rest of the book is mostly a missed opportunity.

Near the end there is a really interesting description of neilson ratings, which is something I only learned from this book. In b
Sarah Jayne
May 10, 2016 Sarah Jayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this was a standard undergrad comm class text years ago. It's based on the much larger History of Broadcasting in the United States. The late Barnouw knew his stuff and the text is clear, concise and engaging, unlike some other texts of its ilk, like the Columbia History of American Television, etc. I picked this up and finished it after putting it down a few years ago.
Aug 19, 2010 G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a dense encyclopedic review of the history of television from its birth to the end of the 1980s. its strength lay with the connections made between television history and larger historical events around the world and how each were influenced by the other. difficult to read through as a narrative because of its dense, continuous narrative. useful as a resource for television history.
Bode Wilson
Feb 23, 2011 Bode Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thorough, mostly-balanced history for most of its length that ends up somewhere in the neighborhood of embittered condemnation. An engrossing, extremely informative read.
Nov 18, 2009 Joy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this for a class years ago.
William Crosby
May 19, 2016 William Crosby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although dated, this is excellent as an historical text on the development of radio and television in the U.S.
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