This is a second-hand copy of the book Masters of the Word: How Media Shaped History by William Bernstein.
Condition: this is a used book in fair condition. The spine is all good, which is the main thing, but there is visible wear to the front cover and bits of a retailer sticker on the top right of the front cover. The outer corners of the pages are a bit rough (see product images).
In Masters of the Word, Bernstein chronicles the technology of human communication, or media, starting with the birth of writing thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia. This revolutionary tool allowed rulers to extend their control far and wide, giving rise to the world's first empires. When Phoenician traders took their alphabet to Greece, literacy's first boom led to the birth of drama and democracy.
As Bernstein illustrates, it's not just new communication technologies that have changed the world, it's access to them. Medieval scriptoria and vernacular bibles gave rise to religious dissent, but it was only when the combination of cheaper paper and Gutenberg's printing press drove down the cost of books by some 97 per cent that the fuse of Reformation was lit.
The Industrial Revolution allowed information to move faster and farther than ever before, but the new technologies were more easily exploited by the powerful. With the late twentieth-century rise of carbon duplicates and photocopying, and the boom of the Internet and cell phones in the twenty-first century, access to technology has again spread, and the world is both more connected, and more free, than ever before.
Masters of the Word is an utterly captivating, enlightening book, and one that will change the way you look at technology, human history and power.
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