Cover image for Global communications since 1844 : geopolitics and technology
Title:
Global communications since 1844 : geopolitics and technology
Author:
Hugill, Peter J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xvii, 277 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780801860393

9780801860744
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library TK5102.2 .H84 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

In World Trade since 1431, Peter Hugill showed how the interplay of technology and geography guided the evolution of the modern global capitalistic system. Now, in the successor to that widely acclaimed book, Hugill shifts the focus to telecommunications, once again demonstrating that those nations that best developed and marketed new technologies were the nations that rose to world power. Beginning with the advent of the telegraph in the 1840s, Hugill shows how each major change in transportation and communications technologies brought about a corresponding transformation from one world economy to another. British advances in international telegraphy after the American Civil War, for example, kept that nation just ahead of the United States in the communications race, a position it held until 1945. Hugill explains how such developments as aerial bombardment of cities in World War I spurred the development of radio and, ultimately, radar. He also traces the steps that led to the British surrender of world hegemony to the United States at the end of World War II. Praise for Peter Hugill's World Trade since 1431: "A magnificent work, Braudelian in its conception, scope, and attention to detail... A delight." -- Progress in Human Geography "A first-rate historical study in the genre of world history... Combines geography with the social sciences in skillful fashion. It is lucidly written and will appeal to the specialist and general reader." -- Virginia Quarterly Review "Hugill provides a refreshingly long historical sweep in arguing that transportation technologies have been the key to success in world trade... A wealth of historical and technical detail." -- Geonomics


Summary

In World Trade since 1431, Peter Hugill showed how the interplay of technology and geography guided the evolution of the modern global capitalistic system. Now, in the successor to that widely acclaimed book, Hugill shifts the focus to telecommunications, once again demonstrating that those nations that best developed and marketed new technologies were the nations that rose to world power.

Beginning with the advent of the telegraph in the 1840s, Hugill shows how each major change in transportation and communications technologies brought about a corresponding transformation from one world economy to another. British advances in international telegraphy after the American Civil War, for example, kept that nation just ahead of the United States in the communications race, a position it held until 1945. Hugill explains how such developments as aerial bombardment of cities in World War I spurred the development of radio and, ultimately, radar. He also traces the steps that led to the British surrender of world hegemony to the United States at the end of World War II.


Author Notes

Peter J. Hugill is a professor of geography at Texas A & M University. He is the author of World Trade since 1431, also available from Johns Hopkins.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

In this broad-based review of telecommunications history, historical geographer Hugill covers much the same territory as historian Daniel R. Headrick in The Invisible Weapon: Telecommunications and International Politics, 1851-1945 (1991). Headrick's narrative reads far better, but Hugill's covers more topics and is more theoretically based, drawing on Mackinder's geopolitical speculations (1904), recent world-system theory, and Harold A. Innis's Empire and Communications (1950). Hugill's volume consists of six narrative-dominated chapters sandwiched between an opening and a closing theory-dominated chapter. The narrative chapters begin with the commercialization of the telegraph in the 1840s and cover an assortment of technologies, including submarine telegraphy, telephony, wireless, long- and shortwave radio, radar, and television. Hugill links the history of these technologies to geopolitical rivalries between the major states of the era, especially Britain and America. The main narrative ends in 1945, when the US replaced Britain as the dominant world power in telecommunications. In his concluding chapter Hugill sketches post-1945 telecommunications developments such as communications satellites and uses the theoretical premises developed in the earlier chapters to speculate on the future. Even if one disagrees with Hugill's theoretical framework, his narrative abounds with interesting insights and conjectures. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. T. S. Reynolds; Michigan Technological University


Choice Review

In this broad-based review of telecommunications history, historical geographer Hugill covers much the same territory as historian Daniel R. Headrick in The Invisible Weapon: Telecommunications and International Politics, 1851-1945 (1991). Headrick's narrative reads far better, but Hugill's covers more topics and is more theoretically based, drawing on Mackinder's geopolitical speculations (1904), recent world-system theory, and Harold A. Innis's Empire and Communications (1950). Hugill's volume consists of six narrative-dominated chapters sandwiched between an opening and a closing theory-dominated chapter. The narrative chapters begin with the commercialization of the telegraph in the 1840s and cover an assortment of technologies, including submarine telegraphy, telephony, wireless, long- and shortwave radio, radar, and television. Hugill links the history of these technologies to geopolitical rivalries between the major states of the era, especially Britain and America. The main narrative ends in 1945, when the US replaced Britain as the dominant world power in telecommunications. In his concluding chapter Hugill sketches post-1945 telecommunications developments such as communications satellites and uses the theoretical premises developed in the earlier chapters to speculate on the future. Even if one disagrees with Hugill's theoretical framework, his narrative abounds with interesting insights and conjectures. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. T. S. Reynolds; Michigan Technological University


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