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A Short History of the Modern Media


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Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: Medium Message 1

Overview 2

Further Reading 11

1 Print’s Run: Publishing as Popular Culture 13

Overview 14

Genre Study / Terrifying pleasures: Horror 31

Document Study / The ravenous imagination of Edgar Allan Poe 38

Document Study / Carrie: Princess of blood, King of horror 44

Further Reading 49

2 Dramatic Developments: The World of the Stage 51

Overview 52

Genre Study / Notes from the stage: The Broadway musical 69

Document Study / Show Boat: High tide of the American musical 77

Further Reading 83

3 Reel Life: The Art of Motion Pictures 85

Overview 86

Genre Study / Horse sense: The logic of the western 102

Document Study / The Searchers: Monumental western 111

Further Reading 116

4 Making Waves: Radio in American Life 119

Overview 120

Genre Study / Worlds away: Science fiction 134

Document Study / The Mercury Theater on the Air: Worlds war 142

Document Study / Buck Rogers: Finding time (in space) 149

Further Reading 153

5 Channels of Opportunity: The Arc of Television Broadcasting 155

Overview 156

Genre Study / Screened realities: Situation comedy 173

Document Study / Seriously funny: I Love Lucy 181

Further Reading 187

6 Sound Investments: The Evolution of Sound Recording 190

Overview 191

Genre Study / Joyful blues: The rise and fall of rock and roll 213

Document Study / ‘‘Beat It’’: The integration of Michael Jackson 224

Document Study / Speak Now: The gently assertive voice of Taylor Swift 232

Further Reading 237

7 Weaving the Web: The Emergence of the Internet 240

Overview 241

Genre Study / Shared exchanges: Social media 260

Document Study / Wikipedia: The wisdom of crowds 268

Further Reading 274

Index 277

About the Author

Jim Cullen is Chair of the History Department at the Fieldston School in New York and a book review editor at the History News Network. He is the author of a dozen books, including Imperfect Presidents: Tales of Misadventure and Triumph (2007), Essaying the Past: How to Read, Write and Think about History, 2nd edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), and Sensing the Past: Hollywood Stars and Historical Visions (2013).


?Until now, there has not been a teachable history of mass media. Cullen?s deftly distilled historiographies will please teachers and the well-chosen genre essays and case studies will inspire great classroom discussions.? --Andrew Haley, The University of Southern Mississippi ?With its informative overviews and rich document studies, A Short History of the Modern Media should prove an essential work for any course on the history and meaning of modern media.? --Louis P. Masur, Rutgers University "An excellent introduction to the technologies, industries, cultural forms, and genres that constitute our media landscape. Cullen shows that the history of our media is in many ways the history of our sociality and our intimacies." --Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University

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