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Download The Network: The Battle for the Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Network: The Battle for the Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age, by Scott Woolley Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Scott Woolley Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The astonishing story of America’s airwaves, the two friends—one a media mogul, the other a famous inventor—who made them available to us, and the government which figured out how to put a price on air.

This is the origin story of the airwaves—the foundational technology of the communications age—as told through the forty-year friendship of an entrepreneurial industrialist and a brilliant inventor.

David Sarnoff, the head of RCA and equal parts Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, and William Randolph Hearst, was the greatest supporter of his friend Edwin Armstrong, developer of the first amplifier, the modern radio transmitter, and FM radio. Sarnoff was convinced that Armstrong’s inventions had the power to change the way societies communicated with each other forever. He would become a visionary captain of the media industry, even predicting the advent of the Internet.

In the mid-1930s, however, when Armstrong suspected Sarnoff of orchestrating a cadre of government officials to seize control of the FM airwaves, he committed suicide. Sarnoff had a very different view of who his friend’s enemies were.

Many corrupt politicians and corporations saw in Armstrong’s inventions the opportunity to commodify our most ubiquitous natural resource—the air. This early alliance between high tech and business set the precedent for countless legal and industrial battles over broadband and licensing bandwidth, many of which continue to influence policy and debate today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “By focusing on a handful of characters, Woolley avoids getting bogged down in excessive technological and scientific detail, legal nuances, and biographical minutiae, and instead crafts a highly readable, plot-driven narrative that illuminates the genesis of innovations that many readers take for granted.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A highly accessible and journalistic work that will fascinate general readers…[An] entertaining account of historical politics and profit in the age of mass communication, this work is recommended for dual fans of nonfiction writing and the business of media technology.”

    Library Journal

  • “Woolley packs a lot into this slim book…The author’s portraits of Sarnoff and Armstrong are precise and multidimensional…Fluidly written and well-reported.”

    Booklist

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