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Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by [McLuhan, Marshall]
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Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Length: 616 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description

When first published, Marshall McLuhan’s 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 McLuhan’s best-known book both enhances its accessibility to a general audience and provides the full critical apparatus necessary for scholars. In Terrence Gordon’s own words, “McLuhan is in full flight already in the introduction, challenging us to plunge with him into what he calls ‘the creative process of knowing.’” Much to the chagrin of his contemporary critics McLuhan’s preference was for a prose style that explored rather than explained. Probes, or aphorisms, were an indispensable tool with which he sought to prompt and prod the reader into an "understanding of how media operate" and to provoke reflection.

In the 1960s McLuhan’s theories aroused both wrath and admiration. It is intriguing to speculate what he might have to say 40 years later on subjects to which he devoted whole chapters such as Television, The Telephone, Weapons, Housing and Money. Today few would dispute that mass media have indeed decentralized modern living and turned the world into a global village.

This critical edition features an appendix that makes available for the first time the core of the research project that spawned the book and individual chapter notes are supported by a glossary of terms, indices of subjects, names, and works cited. There is also a complete bibliography of McLuhan’s published works.

W. Terrence Gordon is Associate General Editor of the Gingko Press McLuhan publishing program, author of the biography Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding and McLuhan for Beginners.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2348 KB
  • Print Length: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Gingko Press; Critical edition (June 14 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DIEZI7U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,197 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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A seminal and throughout sublime work that increasingly resonates the further we slide into the shallows of social media, run by the one-percent economy goons who remain largely oblivious to the environments they create but who get away with it by appearing to care or by distracting us with next-gen technologies and ideas, such as self-landing rockets and ueber-AI -- technologies themselves that will distort the reality field even further, only widen the technology have/have not gap, and thereby further disrupt humanity and human values. McLuhan would have loved the "selfie" in particular, as the fragmentation/amputation of the self from the self, and a darkly pathetic answer to the question posed in The Mechanical Bride, first published in 1951: Do you feel a need to be distinctive and mass produced?

In other words, and in acknowldgement of Nicholas Carr's own work, how shallow can you get?
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Format: Paperback
Reading Understanding Media brings to mind the old line that Shakespeare's plays are nothing but a bunch of clichés. McLuhan's 1964 look at the impact of technology and communications on society is laced with phrases that have become fixtures of modern language, like 'Global Village', 'Age of Information' and 'The medium is the message'. The book seeks to tie together big themes like art, culture, and social and economic history. While often successful at drawing these sweeping connections, McLuhan in certain chapters wanders into what sound like self-indulgent lectures. His analysis of television as a "cool" or low-resolution medium is dated. Phrases like "dig it" and too-numerous references to "the bomb," Mad magazine and skin-divers clearly belong to the early 1960s. But this book is valuable for its prophetic analyses. McLuhan's prediction of an emerging information-based economy and a global integration facilitated by the Internet and digital technologies is stunningly accurate. We [...] recommend Understanding Media to executives working in media, telecommunications and technology, all of whom should have at least a passing knowledge of this classic.
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I'd give it 5 stars, but it's a bit dense and a little difficult. I think a lot of people have a problem with McLuhan because he didn't develop a cut and dry, easily accessible theory or body of work. I put him in a category of provocative essayists like Freud. After absorbing McCluhan, I see the world differently in a way that makes more sense. His subject matter is media, and not its content, so it is difficult to pin down. I understand why some dismiss this as a bunch of 60's twaddle, but it's not. Just read with an open mind. I found his little book "The Medium is the Massage" a fun little intro. Even though I've read a lot of McLuhan, I feel I understand about 5-10% of what he said.
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Format: Paperback
UNDERSTANDING MEDIA is the Marshall McLuhan "bible". He is regarded as Information Age guru so there is onus in becoming familiar with his ideas even when they are unnecessarily obscure or disputable. The concept of HOT & COOL media is an example. HOT FORMS...movies; popular music; viewed sports and (serious error!...which he laters contradicts in the same book) printed texts...are "passive" agencies: their MESSAGE is stated and "easily" interpreted. When McLuhan presented theories in the 60's, television was asserted premier MEDIUM COOL. That is: because TV screens are covered with silver dots ((ionized "active"/photons by scanning beam of electron guns)), Big Mac believed viewers had to "CONSTRUCT" the picture ACTIVELY; then glean the meaning. Today...with few exceptions...TV is recognized as activity in PASSIVITY ultra non plus. Sit there: be spoon-fed somebody's pre-packaged PROGRAM...accompanied by high-tech emotion-revving "slights" and "zounds"...and you're "programmed". Cry; fly; die or BUY as Media Wizards wave hypnotic aerial wands. You're the PROGRAM (what Ray Bradbury called in FAHRENHEIT 451, "The One-eyed Snake's FEED")that becomes what he beholds... McLuhan was a day or two behind the SUPER MEDIUM COOL which are personal computers. TV is "lay back"( or get laid-out/anesthetized into obliviosity). The COMPUTER is "lean-to" and CONSTRUCT words/worlds of meaning in text; sounds and graphics. Holographic programs will allow activist/adepts...like Dr. Morbius in FORBIDDEN PLANET...to IMAGINE "life" forms in ultimate DVD-God game. (Maybe?Read more ›
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I believe many forget this book was written in 1964, before your personal computer and cable television. This book, however dense at times and in my opinion, predicted the explosive of the internet and modern electronic media 30 years previous. For anyone who claims the ideas about the tribal structure are false, need only investigate urban design trends today to see that the large city structure is being abandoned for smaller neighborhoods where people can walk everywhere, quite like they may in a tribe, and how the reintroduction of porches and other features that stimulate neighborhood participation are doing the same. And, if you really want some evidence that Mcluhan could base such an idea on an actually occurrence in his own time, you should read up on housing development in the Orange county of Southern California during the 1950s. A group that included the Eames' and others where they were trying to establish such a tribal urbanism, but the commuter culture was established and thus ruled, people fearing change. All that remained of their ideas were thousands of glass houses that no longer meet building code 22 and the commuter culture led to bad ideas like Brasilia, Brazil. Apparently Mcluhan was just the only person to write it down as society quashed it to remain in the safety of the old. I'm sorry but this book is utterly amazing. I look at everything differently now, everything. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it and apply it. And then you realize it was written in the 60s? Wow. Mcluhan was right on target. For those wanting an intro to Mcluhan and have small attention spans I suggest 'On Mcluhan: Forward Through the Rearview Mirror'. I am saddened that I can't attend the Center for Culture and Technology.Read more ›
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