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A nation transformed by information:how information has shaped the United States from colonial times to the present

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Does the Information Age predate computers? Does it, in fact, predate the Industrial Age? Though this thesis isn't explicitly examined in A Nation Transformed by Information: How Information Has Shaped the United States from Colonial Times to the Present, the reader can't help but think about it throughout. Editors Alfred D. Chandler Jr. and James W. Cortada assembled a healthy mix of historians and management consultants to write the history of information services in America, and the very mild pro-business bias is more than balanced by the deeper insight into the companies and corporations that did much to spur technological change. Fascinating nuggets of post-McLuhan media history lie within this sober analysis; it's startling to read of the antebellum U.S. Post Office refusing to deliver abolitionist materials to slave states, for example. These help to contextualize the information architecture we take for granted, as well as the innovations made possible by this architecture--imagine 50-story buildings without telephones. Though the editors profess no gift of prophecy for themselves or their authors, A Nation Transformed by Information will still give canny readers something to think about as they make their way through the Information Age. --Rob Lightner
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