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:

Global Communications, International Affairs and the Media Since 1945
By Philip M. Taylor.
New York: Routledge, 1997. Pp. xx + 248; bibliographical references (p. 229-241) and index. $95.00.

Although Philip Taylor’s book has been out a few years, its theme has taken on a new significance, for it is about mass communications and mass media as milieus in which politicians, statesmen, and soldiers increasingly operate. Taylor traces the increased involvement of the media in issues of peace and especially war from the nineteenth century to the present day, although the book’s focus is principally the second half of the last century. He analyzes the nature, role, and impact of communications within the international arena and how communications interacts with foreign policy in practice, not theory. Taylor details the contemporary problems of reporting in wartime, using studies of the first gulf war and Vietnam, while simultaneously providing the broad historical context.