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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story as valid today as it was over 150 years ago....
First off, A very well to the point read, worth the price.

Now, overall this book just blew me away with all the comparisons between the birth of the telegraph and the birth of the internet.

Even though the telegraph was created 150 years ago, the lessons discussed in the book, and the technological outcomes, are still being felt today. So are the...
Published on June 27 2008 by Apprentice

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a great story.
The author missed what could have been a great story in this journalistic (in the worst sense of the word) story of this fascinating invention. The hook which attempts to link the telegraph with the internet is a strained metaphor -- an attempt to make the book relevant.
Missed or lightly touched on is how the telegraphy truly changed the world -- how wars were...
Published on Sept. 20 2002 by R. Blumer


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story as valid today as it was over 150 years ago...., June 27 2008
By 
Apprentice (Montreal, Qc Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Victorian Internet, The (Paperback)
First off, A very well to the point read, worth the price.

Now, overall this book just blew me away with all the comparisons between the birth of the telegraph and the birth of the internet.

Even though the telegraph was created 150 years ago, the lessons discussed in the book, and the technological outcomes, are still being felt today. So are the struggles to keep up with demand, privacy issues, and safety on the Web.(The term "world wide web" was actually coined during Victorian times, but rarely used)

As pointed out by the author, the Victorians had many issues when it came to dealing with the telegraph, and seeing how they coped with that "new" technology, and all its applications to their "modern life"gives us, 150 years later, the hope of a better tomorrow, via the 21st century Internet.

Also, I would recommend anyone who has read James Burke's Book CONNECTIONS to give this book a try (and vice versa).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a great story., Sept. 20 2002
By 
R. Blumer (NEW YORK, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The author missed what could have been a great story in this journalistic (in the worst sense of the word) story of this fascinating invention. The hook which attempts to link the telegraph with the internet is a strained metaphor -- an attempt to make the book relevant.
Missed or lightly touched on is how the telegraphy truly changed the world -- how wars were fought, how business is conducted. Instead we get a lot of the fluffy stories of people getting married by telegraph etc.
Also glossed over are any real technical details about how the various gadgets worked. The author obviously doesn't know the difference between a volt and jolt and assumes the readers are equally ignorant.
Pity because the relationship between invention and history is a great story and the telegraph is a great way of telling this story. This book just skims the surface.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Past and future, Nov. 24 2005
By 
FrKurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (Bloomington, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Victorian Internet (Paperback)
The title of this book, 'The Victorian Internet,' refers to the 'communications explosion' that took place with the advent and expansion of telegraph wire communications. Prior to this, communication was notoriously slow, particularly as even postal communications were subject to many difficulties and could take months for delivery (and we complain today of the 'allow five days' statements on our credit cards billings!).
The parallels between the Victorian Internet and the present computerised internet are remarkable. Information about current events became relatively instantaneous (relative, that is, to the usual weeks or months that it once took to receive such information). There were skeptics who were convinced that this new mode of communication was a passing phase that would never take on (and, in a strict sense, they were right, not of course realising that the demise of the telegraph system was not due to the reinvigoration of written correspondence but due to that new invention, the telephone). There were hackers, people who tried to disrupt communications, those who tried to get on-line free illegally, and, near the end of the high age of telegraphing, a noticeable slow-down in information due to information overload (how long is this page going to take to download?? isn't such a new feeling after all).
The most interesting chapter to me is that entitled 'Love over the Wires' which begins with an account of an on-line wedding, with the bride in Boston and the groom in New York. This event was reported in a small book, Anecdotes of the Telegraph, published in London in 1848, which stated that this was 'a story which throws into the shade all the feats that have been performed by our British telegraph.' This story is really one of love and adventure, as the bride's father had sent the young groom away for being unworthy to marry his daughter, but on a stop-over on his way to England, he managed to get a magistrate and telegraph operator to arrange the wedding. The marriage was deemed to be legally binding.
A very interesting and remarkable story that perhaps would have been forgotten by history had history not set out to repeat itself with our modern internet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Parallels Galore, Jan. 24 2004
By 
Donald B. Siano (Westfield, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Victorian Internet (Paperback)
The idea of this book is that the telegraph had much the same effect for the Victorians, as the internet has on our own times. The world got smaller: markets became more efficient and larger and diplomats had to respond to crises in real time. Journalists had to adapt and organize syndicates for gathering and sharing information. Codes and ciphers increased in importance and commercial value while governments futilely tried to control and restrict their use. All of these things are as familiar to us, as it was to the Victorians.
Sandage has done a credible job in researching the parallels and tells the story with plenty of amusing asides and anecdotes, making for an easy read. The stories about how the telegraph was used in affairs of the heart, and the ingenuity of criminals to find innovative methods of practicing their craft shows one more time that there is little really new under the sun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History Repeats Itself, Oct. 7 2003
This review is from: Victorian Internet (Paperback)
Tom Standage is onto something. It seems that everything we know about the Internet today, we've already done before. The turn of this century was a lot like the turn of the last century.
"The Victorian Internet" is all about our world and the invention of the Telegraph. As cyberpunk author Neal Stephenson once pointed out, the telegraph was the world's first global digital network. It's when we started trying to push voice down the copper lines that we mucked things up.
In this book, you'll find technological wizardry, geek pioneers, global aspirations, long-distance romances, and online scams. You'll discover what 19th-Century chat was like. There are growing pains. We see fear for the future and fear of moral decline. The Telegraph represented a sudden, massive interconnection of people thousands of miles apart, and the effects of this overnight deluge of information is clear in reading. You have to remember that these were people used to feeling safe in their own homes, blissfully unaware of each other, and only vaguely informed of events going on in other countries.
Standage does a nice job of hitting on the hottest topics of our time, without hitting the reader over the head to make a point. Cybergeeks will love his stops at Cryptography, code, and the other programming-like solutions people came up with to solve their problems. Fans of history will be amused by the parallels between life then and now as "old media" learns to stop worrying and embrace "new media".
In a narrative style that resembles the British TV series "Connections", Standage shows us what each side of the Atlantic was up to, the race to connect the world, and the sheer determination and boundless optimism that made it all happen. There are also interesting tidbits along the way: we get facts about Samuel Morse and Thomas Edison that most history books ignore. There are anecdotes from 19th-century daily life that we can easily identify with today. All of it combines in a way that is easy to read, decently-paced, and fun to think about and discuss with others.
I give this book 5 stars for being clever with presentation and for keeping the various threads together without seeming fragmented. Tom Standage moves us through history without jumping around, and references earlier sections to remind us of where things are going. If you like history, technology, or even the geekier topics of machine logic, programming, and cryptography, this book makes an excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History Really Does Repeat Itself!, Aug. 31 2003
By 
W. C HALL (Newport, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Victorian Internet (Paperback)
When I first picked up this book I was intrigued, but a bit skeptical of its premise. "The Victorian Internet" is a briskly-told history of the creation of the telegraph, focusing more on its human impacts than the technical details; but it also draws amazing paralells between that 19th century communications system and the electronic marvel of the 21st. As I read on, I found myself swayed by author Tom Standage's premise. The telegraph allowed almost instanteous communications across great
distances, and revolutionized society in ways undreamed of by its creators. Both mediums spawned new forms of fraud and other crime; both were oversold by their advocates and underestimated by their critics; both created their own subculture of language and practices. Standage is an energetic, colorful storyteller with a gift for making the past come alive. It's worthwhile for anyone with an interest in the history of technology and its impacts on society.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I really liked it, July 4 2003
This review is from: Victorian Internet (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. If you're looking for an in-depth study of the science behind the telegraph or a statistical sociological study, however, this is not the book for you.
This book really glosses over the technical side in a bare-bones manner. For example, the book states that telegraphy over long distances requires a series of small batteries working together instead of one large battery, and leaves it at that. No explanation as to why this is the case is provided. As the title suggests, the goal of this book is to draw parallels between today's Internet and yesterday's telegraph. Since the parallels are more in the area of societal effects, not technologies, the technologies are naturally de-emphasized.
As a college professor, I think this book will be a perfect one to use in my Technology in Our Lives course. Now, don't let that comment scare you. I don't mean to suggest that this is an academic treatise on the telegraph's societal impacts. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. This is a very engaging book that would hold the interest of readers of all types. It reads almost like "historical fiction," but it's not fiction, of course.
The book takes a "breadth over depth" approach to its subject, and yet contains a lot of details. Although I knew how the telegraph, especially once the Atlantic was crossed with a telegraph wire, changed commerce and the news industry, I had no real idea of the online games and online romances that occurred over the telegraph wires all over the world. The parallels with the modern Internet are fascinating.
As I said, I really enjoyed this book and plan to use it in one of my classes. Go into this book with your eyes open, however, knowing what the book's goal and thesis are. If you're looking for detailed information on the science and technology of the telegraph, or an in-depth, statistical sociological study, this is not the book for you. If, on the other hand, you wish to be exposed to series of parallels between the Internet's and the telegraph's impacts on culture and society, this is an engaging book that will fulfill that desire.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Past and future..., May 29 2003
By 
FrKurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (Bloomington, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Victorian Internet (Paperback)
The title of this book, 'The Victorian Internet,' refers to the 'communications explosion' that took place with the advent and expansion of telegraph wire communications. Prior to this, communication was notoriously slow, particularly as even postal communications were subject to many difficulties and could take months for delivery (and we complain today of the 'allow five days' statements on our credit cards billings!).
The parallels between the Victorian Internet and the present computerised internet are remarkable. Information about current events became relatively instantaneous (relative, that is, to the usual weeks or months that it once took to receive such information). There were skeptics who were convinced that this new mode of communication was a passing phase that would never take on (and, in a strict sense, they were right, not of course realising that the demise of the telegraph system was not due to the reinvigoration of written correspondence but due to that new invention, the telephone). There were hackers, people who tried to disrupt communications, those who tried to get on-line free illegally, and, near the end of the high age of telegraphing, a noticeable slow-down in information due to information overload (how long is this page going to take to download?? isn't such a new feeling after all).
The most interesting chapter to me is that entitled 'Love over the Wires' which begins with an account of an on-line wedding, with the bride in Boston and the groom in New York. This event was reported in a small book, Anecdotes of the Telegraph, published in London in 1848, which stated that this was 'a story which throws into the shade all the feats that have been performed by our British telegraph.' This story is really one of love and adventure, as the bride's father had sent the young groom away for being unworthy to marry his daughter, but on a stop-over on his way to England, he managed to get a magistrate and telegraph operator to arrange the wedding. The marriage was deemed to be legally binding.
A very interesting and remarkable story that perhaps would have been forgotten by history had history not set out to repeat itself with our modern internet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Victory for the Internet, Oct. 26 2001
By 
After reading The Victorian Internet it was very interesting to see how technology emerged. I was always interested in the history of how all it began. Tom Standage started to write about the Monks in how they first started to communicate from distances. It was espcially interesting how Samuel Morse began to be interested in producing the "Morse Code". It was a very nice book giving the history in how it all began and how it is getting better and better.
Of course there weren't many very honest people in dealing with the 'new technologies' that went on. Who is to say there is all honesty these days. Some people got the credit that they did not deserve fully. I'm sure if anyone reads this book will be very surprised in what went on those days. What I like about this book is that it is very easy to read and it has some humor built into it. I think people will enjoy reading this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Victory for the Internet, Oct. 26 2001
By 
After reading The Victorian Internet it was very interesting to see how technology emerged. I was always interested in the history of how all it began. Tom Standage started to write about the Monks in how they first started to communicate from distances. It was espcially interesting how Samuel Morse began to be interested in producing the "Morse Code". It was a very nice book giving the history in how it all began and how it is getting better and better.
Of course there weren't many very honest people in dealing with the 'new technologies' that went on. Who is to say there is all honesty these days. Some people got the credit that they did not deserve fully. I'm sure if anyone reads this book will be very surprised in what went on those days. What I like about this book is that it is very easy to read and it has some humor built into it. I think people will enjoy reading this book.
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