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Tube: The Invention of Television [Paperback]

David E. Fisher , Marshall Jon Fisher
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 17 1997 Harvest Book
The visionary eccentrics and hardboiled businessmen behind television’s inception come to life in this “gripping” (Booklist), “lucid and engrossing” (american Scientist) chronicle of patent races, marketing showdowns, and courtroom battles. Index; photographs.

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Telling the tale of the corporate revolution that forever changed the nature of the individual is no easy task. Authors David E. Fisher and Marshall Jon Fisher have hidden their sociohistory between the lines of the exciting story of the race to invent television. Eccentric geniuses John Logie Baird (whose only other invention was stay-dry socks) and teenaged Utah farm boy Philo T. Farnsworth struggled with limited resources to produce the first television systems, but their greatest challenge was coming up against the giant corporations that had nearly infinite money and resources. Pitting these lone romantics against the collective will of RCA, Tube turns a history of science into a thrilling page-turner.

From Publishers Weekly

As the authors say in their preface, "[W]ho invented television? Nobody knows." But the genius of several individuals coalesced into today's modern TV. In this personality-driven book, the authors look at the key players and their contributions: John Logie Bair, the eccentric Scot who went from marketing hemorrhoid cream to making the first TV in Britain; Vladimir Zworykin, the Russian immigrant who blazed the trail for RCA; and Ernst Alexanderson, who led RCA to the promised land but lost out to Zworykin. But the two stars are Philo T. Farnsworth and David Sarnoff. Farnsworth was the boy-genius who first visualized TV as a 14-year-old and invented one of the first totally electronic TVs, only to be defeated by corporate in-fighting. "General" David Sarnoff, a Jewish immigrant on New York City's Lower East Side, rose to become the head of RCA, leading it to the vanguard because of his keen perceptions of both radio and television. David Fisher, a professor of cosmochemistry at the University of Miami, and Marshal Joe Fisher, a freelance writer, offer an engrossing, in-depth look at the history of the medium. Photos not seen by PW. 35,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A poorly-researched semi-fictional account May 17 2004
By A Customer
To those seeking an introduction to television history, it may initially seem like an accurate book. First impressions can be deceiving.
What TUBE gains in advertising space, it lacks in accuracy. To a reader with sufficient previous background, it will appear to have been written and researched on the quick, and it comes to several misleading conclusions that evolve into outright fabrication. The authors do not seem to know how to get out of corners they carelessly write themselves into. They seem only too willing to make judgements on technologies and events which they clearly have not fully researched. There are simply too many outstanding errors for Tube to be a dependable reference for historians.
Let's hope if Tube has been reprinted, that the Fishers have done more background research, and have fixed the recurring 'boo-boos' that troubled the version I read.
A 2nd edition (with corrections) or even an enclosed 'errata' page is long overdue. Call me cynical, but I strongly suspect that the errors would happily be carried through to further printings, (if this has not occurred already). I do not recognize the new cover, but I expect it is simply a paperback version of the earlier hardcover with no content changes.
This may seem strong, but the more knowledge you amass about TV History from reputable sources, the more frustrated you will become with Tube.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly likeable and interesting book. Nov. 2 1998
By A Customer
This fine work has many of the qualities of a suspense novel, and is probably one of the best books of its kind ever written. It is written with a heart, and the reader easily feels what some of its subjects endured in this fascinating tale of the development and evolution of television, and later, color television. After this read, the reader will want to immediately order the equally excellent book about the development of HDTV by Joel Brinkley.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An accessible history of television technology May 2 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Tube is easily the most accessible history of television's early years (its "prehistory"), and a good read to boot. The great Zworykin/Farnsworth technology battle is pretty well presented, and the men themselves come alive in the text. Color television's development gets easily the best treatment I've seen anywhere in the non-technical press. However, the final chapter on the future of television was mostly worthless; historians (along with most of the rest of us) do not do well in predicting the future. In a few years that chapter probably will be seen as an embarassment which the rest of the book does not deserve
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cigars all around for a first-rate book Jan. 7 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Lively, intelligent, thoroughly researched, Tube is the best history of its kind available. The grousings of certain Farnsworth zealots notwithstanding, the countrified genius of television finally gets his due in this volume. A great read
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close, but no cigar. Dec 30 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
"Tube" is a scholarly rendering of a fascinating, important,
but largely untold piece of history. Unfortunately, the
authors failed to search beneath the surface of the
surviving historical record to find the true facts, and have
instead reiterated a false accounting that has been preserved
by more than than 60 years of corporate public relations.

"Tube" repeats oft cited historical record that "Vladimir
Zworykin became 'the father of television' when he invented
as device called the "iconoscope" while working for RCA in 1923."
That is a single sentence that manages to embody about four historical

What's worse, repeating this false litany obscures one of
the most amazing achievements of the 20th century: that
television as we know it emerged whole from the mind of a
14 year old farm boy named Philo T. Farnsworth. The
Fishers' book recognizes Farnsworth, but fails to differentiate
his achievement from that of Zworykin, or to examine the
patent record deeply enough to unveil the true magnitude
of Farnsworth's contribution.

Philo T. Farnsworth paved the way for today's living room
dreams, but the Fishers' book treats his contribution no
better than dozens of volumes that precede it. For the true
story, read "The Farnsworth Chronicles" on the web at


--Paul Schatzkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast shipping Oct. 16 2013
By JRod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book, used it for a research paper and it has everything I need it. It goes into a lot of details on how the television was created, by whom, when, and how.
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I was looking for Jan. 5 2013
By Richard C. Porter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book has just the right amount of history and just the right amount of detail to keep you interested. I have an electronics background, but some books can still get too deep to be of interest to me. This one is just right. After reading this book you will have an understanding and a hatred of RCA's dishonesty and backstabbing.
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