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Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man: Critical Edition [Hardcover]

Marshall McLuhan , W. Terrence Gordon , Philip B. Meggs
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2003
When first published, Marshall McLuhans Understanding Media made history with its radical view of the effects of electronic communications upon man and life in the twentieth century. This edition of McLuhans best-known book both enhances its accessibility to a general audience and provides the full critical apparatus necessary for scholars. This critical edition makes available for the first time the core of the research project that spawned the book.

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Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man: Critical Edition + The Gutenberg Galaxy + The Medium Is the Massage
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's next after the electric age? May 18 2006
Format:Hardcover
This book is the Bible of the mediatic electric age and it has to be read as such, that is to say with a grain of salt from time to time. Marshall McLuhan shows first of all that all inventions, all activities of man are extensions of something in his body: the hand, the arm, the foot, the eye, the nose, the ear, and of course the skin and the central nervous system. He then moves to showing that the mechanical age started with the wheel as the extension of man's feet and legs, when this wheel was plugged onto some mechanical source of energy, be it natural like stream-water, or be it man-made and artificial like the steam-engine or the internal-combustion-engine. But this very mechanical revolution produces the next stage since stream-water or steam are used to make a turbine turn, like a wheel, but this time to produce electricity. And we enter the electrical age, a revolution based on the virtualization of this energy that is no longer attached to a particular action or place: it can be used in hundreds of different tasks and everywhere due to its transportation. This leads to the next revolution: the birth of communication media, hot or cool, but all of them being the message itself. Radio, cinema, TV, camera, sound-recorder, etc..., and McLuhan could not know in 1964 the Internet revolution and virtual reality, the virtualization of all human activities. However, he feels and predicts the changes that were to come. Information can be transformed and transported by machines and the possession and use of knowledge become the real working power of a man. It means clearly that social projects are no longer collective but based on individual potential, competence and activity. Read more ›
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