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Marshall McLuhan: Escape Into Understanding a Biography Paperback – Aug 2003

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Gingko Pr Inc (August 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584231440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584231448
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,000,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

In contrast to Phillip Machand's Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger (LJ 3/15/89), this authorized life draws heavily on McLuhan's diaries and private papers as well as on interviews with family and friends. Early on, Gordon takes a traditional biographical approach, focusing on McLuhan's childhood, Cambridge years, marriage, and conversion to Catholicism; later he turns to view the man who coined the term global village and became a pop icon with the publication of The Medium Is the Message (LJ 6/1/67) through a detailed analysis of his work. Gordon provides a straightforward and lucid account of McLuhan's life and ideas, at times defending the media guru against detractors. All facts and explanations notwithstanding, McLuhan remains an enigma. For academic and larger public libraries.?William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

A thoughtful study of the life and ideas of the celebrated media philosopher. Time--unkind to so many visionaries--is proving Marshall McLuhan only more and more prescient. His theories, popularly summed up in his famous phrase ``The medium is the message,'' seem to describe our computerized age with eerie precision. He was able to recognize, for example, that the computer would rapidly become an extension of the central nervous system, allowing individuals to extend the range of their sense perceptions. While computer- friendly, his opinion of television, often misunderstood and rarely enunciated in its full disdain, verged on the alarmist: ``If you want to save one shred of Hebrao-Greco-Roman-Medieval-Renaissance-Enlightenment-Modern-West ern civilisation, you'd better get an ax and smash all the sets.'' Given where his ideas would take him, it is superficially incongruous that McLuhan began his professional career as an English professor. But language has fueled much late-20th-century philosophy, and as Canadian academic Gordon (McLuhan for Beginners, not reviewed, etc.) meticulously demonstrates, much of McLuhan's work was substantively informed by a concern with grammar (in the classical sense of the study of relationships within language). At a time when many intellectuals chose either communism or Catholicism--usually for reasons more similar than opposite-- McLuhan chose the Church, and Gordon again carefully illuminates the connections to McLuhan's work. His ideas were dense, complex often to the point of convolution, and thoroughly interwoven. Gordon is not only a user-friendly explicator, he also is a dogged intellectual detective, tracking McLuhan's ideas down to their earliest beginnings. In more conventional biographical terms, this account suffers from the happily married, academically regimented dullness of its subject's life, conjoined with Gordon's relative lack of interest in all non-idea-related details. But as an intellectual history, it's first-rate. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9bb14810) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bca88d0) out of 5 stars I Was Tempted To Escape Into Sleep Far Too Often June 29 2001
By First Things First - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book because I was interested in learning as much as I could about the enigmatic Marshall McLuhan. Unfortunately, Mr. McLuhan has failed to find his ideal biographer in this work. Marshall McLuhan was the media intellectual from Canada who wrote, taught and spoke presciently of the effects of media on ourselves and our culture. Much of his work was rather heady stuff, and out of the reach of the dillettante. Even his most famous phrase, "the medium is the message" is poorly understood by many, including some who are thought to be blessed with large portions of gray matter. And the author of this biography W. Terrence Gordon can't seem to find the formula for delivering palatable explainations of McLuhan's catchphrases. The book unevenly shifts from the recounting of McLuhan's life, to the development of his groundbreaking research and novel ideas on everything from the ancient Trivium to electronic media, and he never settles into a comfortable pace. One can sense that McLuhan's life was unique, compelling and interesting, but it is rendered dry and antiseptic in this telling, and our author fares even more poorly in attempting to school us in the intellectual legacy of McLuhan, never properly defining terms in some instances, jumping way over our heads in others, and most maddening of all, sticking 80-some pages of notes at the end of the book which would have served us far better as foot-notes or inclusions in the main text. All this having been said, the subject was interesting enough and the materials included specific enough, where I was able to find many interesting paths for further exploration, which made slogging through this ponderous book, worth the effort at the end... But as I said, this fascinating man's life is deserving of a far more interesting and organized writer's efforts.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bca8684) out of 5 stars Great Book about a Great Thinker Jan. 23 2009
By Stephen P. Sewall - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read this book ten years ago, cover to cover, and it stays with me.

McLuhan is undeservedly a forgotten thinker today despite his prescient ideas about technology and media. We neglect his classic "Understanding Media" at out peril, especially his account in it of the paralyzing numbness that follows the discovery of any technology and that precedes human understanding and mastery. This includes the numbness that keeps the human race from seeing or understanding itself in the mirror of mass TV and mastering the technology in ways that benefit the human race.

McCluhan never saw a PC but he would surely rejoice at the invention of the digital, interactive PC. His spirit lives on in another oddly forgotten yet prescient little book: George Gilder's "Life After Television: the Coming Transformation of Media and American Life." (1988)

Back to Terrence Gordon, who fully understands all this and offers a warm and nuanced picture of McLuhan's. Few things have made me respect the Catholoic faith as much as Gordon's account of the faith and daily devotion that McLuhan practiced throughout his life.
HASH(0x9b3729cc) out of 5 stars Best biography of McLuhan Aug. 15 2013
By Michael Tang - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The definite work on McLuhan to date revisting the aphrorism "the medium is the message," which most pundits still don't understand. Interesting tidbits not found elsewhere, such as McLuhan being a speed reading advocate and practioner, which helped him get through his junk mail. I'm not sure the why of the title, "Escape into Understanding," other than it has something to do with "Understanding Media."

M. Tang
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b819294) out of 5 stars Fine intellectual biography Feb. 6 2002
By Howard Wetzel - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mr. Gordon concentrates on Mcluhan's intellectual development and shows McL.'s work as a single work in progress built on a unique foundation. It is not as merely gossipy as Marchand's biography, and not for the reader unfamiliar with the world of ideas McL. dealt with. There is nothing of the pop celebrity here, but a serious presentation of the intellectual ground under all of McLuhan's work.