The Network

The Network

The Battle for the Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age

Book - 2016
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Describes the friendship and partnership between the head of RCA and the developer of the first amplifier and how they combined efforts to bring the FM transmitter and modern radio to society and forever change the world.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] :, HarperCollins,, 2016.
New York :, Ecco,, 2016.
ISBN: 9780062242754
Branch Call Number: 621.3840973 WO
Characteristics: 320 pages


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May 07, 2016

A very interesting and short read, not on the level of epochal books like the one by Tom Lewis [Empire of the Air -- an incredible achievement which covered everyone in great depth] or Jill Jonnes' extraordinary book on Tesla, Westinghouse and Edison [Empire of Light] but still worth the time to peruse it! The ending was somewhat disjointed, though, and I disagreed with the author's assessment of MCI and their impact: had not AT&T pulled their Long Lines from MCI's usage, and a lawsuit resulted which awarded MCI a much needed infusion of capital, MCI would have most likely gone out of business. AT&T, typical poor business strategist, once again screwed up! But AT&T is back together again, stronger and bigger than ever!
[DISCLAIMER: This book is a subtle exercise in revisionism, though - - slanting favorably for the corporate head, David Sarnoff, while inferring the instability of inventor Edwin Armstrong. The great inventors spent much time in solitary study, experimentation, tinkering and thinking, et cetera, they didn't build public relations empires! {Hence the character assassinations of Tesla, Armstrong and Farnsworth!} Had the author included Philo Farnsworth, inventor of the basic TV, and his interactions with Sarnoff, Sarnoff would have appeared dramatically different, and not an honest player, but the author clearly restricted the story to just Sarnoff and Armstrong, allowing for his skewing of history! {The norm for the past two centuries has been for an inventor to create something of value then have to waste time in litigation against all the pirates - - see Isaac Singer, et al. - - Armstrong's legal actions were in no way abnormal!} Would have been interesting to see a forensic investigation of later ties between Arnold & Porter and RCA and Sarnoff!]


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