Newsletter of the Mercurians

In lieu of the usual book reviews, we have decided to conduct an experiment. The following is an annotated list of selected books recently published in the field of the history of communications technology. The idea is that the annotated list is more useful than just a list of new books, because it provides more information. This format lacks the personal touch of a reviewer, but it allows us to publish information about more books, thereby making the exercise more valuable (hopefully) to you, the reader. We are interested in knowing what you think about this innovation, so please send your comments to:

Disconnected: Deceit and Betrayal at WorldCom.
By Lynne W. Jeter.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, February 2003.
Pp. xxiv + 248; bibliographical references (p. 225-240) and index. $25.95.

Disconnected is the first book to tell the tale of the once powerful telecom pioneer whose corporate scandal eclipsed the Enron fiasco. During the summer of 2002, WorldCom, once a leading carrier of Internet traffic, filed the largest bankruptcy claim in American history due to accounting errors totaling over $7 billion, and now finds itself on the brink of corporate extinction.

Author and award-winning journalist Lynne W. Jeter has been covering WorldCom since 1984, mainly for the only statewide business journal in Mississippi (home of WorldCom headquarters), The Mississippi Business Journal. Jeter has followed the company's rise and fall since its inception in 1983 as LDDS. Jeter has a solid knowledge of the unique business climate of the Deep South and access to a wealth of information and contacts that no other reporter could possess on this topic.

Her book provides a one-of-a-kind look into the inner workings of this global telecom giant. Readers will take a front row seat as Jeter explores the personalities and factors that led to WorldCom's rise and dramatic fall, such as the failed Sprint merger in 2000 and the revelation in June 2002 of their overstatement in earnings. Digging deep to uncover the mistakes, missteps, and outright unethical behavior that engulfed WorldCom, Disconnected also takes a closer look at former CEO Bernie Ebbers, who was on the frontline during the years leading up to this corporate debacle.