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America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940
The telephone looms large in our lives, as ever present in modern societies as cars and television. Claude Fischer presents the first social history of this vital but little-studied technology—how we encountered, tested, and ultimately embraced it with enthusiasm. Using telephone ads, oral histories, telephone industry correspondence, and statistical data, Fischer's work ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published March 22nd 1994 by University of California Press
(first published September 1992)
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Fascinating to read this book in the present moment and think about the rapid adoption of the Internet, and compare how it was different (faster, government regulation) and the same (starting first as a luxury and business tool but quickly becoming mundane; raising promise and fear of destruction of local communities and businesses).
A. Synopsis: This is a social history of the telephone to 1940, focusing on the users of the technology and how they adopted it to fit their own lives. The topics of the book flow from national, to local, to individual concerns; from the telephone in America to the personal phone call. The conclusion is that technology is not deterministic, as the consumers also shape technology. One example of this is the socialization of technology. The Bell marketers did not envision telephony to be used in ...more