The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

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Atlantic Books, Nov 1, 2010 - Social Science - 300 pages

Winner of the 2011 Business Book of the Year Award

The Internet Age: on the face of it, an era of unprecedented freedom in both communication and culture. Yet in the past, each major new medium, from telephone to satellite television, has crested on a wave of similar idealistic optimism, before succumbing to the inevitable undertow of industrial consolidation. Every once free and open technology has, in time, become centralized and closed; as corporate power has taken control of the 'master switch.' Today a similar struggle looms over the Internet, and as it increasingly supersedes all other media the stakes have never been higher.

Part industrial exposť, part examination of freedom of expression, The Master Switch reveals a crucial drama - full of indelible characters - as it has played out over decades in the shadows of global communication.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sdmouton - LibraryThing

3.5 stars, a wonderful history of telecommunications empires. I'm not sure I agree with the conclusions Wu draws, but that is probably my technological idealism overpowering reason. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ohernaes - LibraryThing

Goes through the modern "information" businesses in the US - telephone, radio, television and film, and internet. A recurrent theme is how upstarts become (power-abusing) empires. The communication ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Tim Wu is an author, a policy advocate, and a professor at Columbia University. A veteran of Silicon Valley, in 2006 he was recognized as one of fifty leaders in science and technology by Scientific American magazine. He won the Lowell Thomas gold medal for Travel Journalism, and has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times and Forbes. He is also a fellow of the New America Foundation and the chairman of the media reform organization Free Press. He lives in New York.