"A fascinating walk through a pivotal period in human history."--USA Today
For many people, the Internet is the epitome of cutting-edge technology. But in the nineteenth century, the first online communications network was already in place--the telegraph. And at the time, it was just as perplexing, controversial, and revolutionary as the Internet is today.
The Victorian Internet tells the story of the telegraph's creation and remarkable impact, and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it. With the invention of the telegraph, the world of communications was forever changed. The telegraph gave rise to creative business practices and new forms of crime. Romances blossomed over its wires. And attitudes toward everything from news gathering to war had to be completely rethought. The saga of the telegraph offers many parallels to that of the Internet in our own time, and is a remarkable episode in the history of technology.
* Illustrated throughout
* A masterful, lively blend of science and history, in the bestselling tradition of Longitude
"Fascinating...If you've ever hankered for a perspective on media Net hype, this book is for you."--Wired
"Essential reading for those caught up in our own information revolution."--Christian Science Monitor