Television: An International History


Television, long regarded as mere entertainment, is now being seriously considered for its significance in all our lives. The crusading "60 Minutes" has become the archetype of the news program acting in the public interest; the irreverent zaniness of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" has permanently changed our view of the world--if only our view of how silly it can be; and MTV has irrevocably altered the popular music scene. Of course, C-SPAN revolutionized the public view of Congress, and without CNN the Gulf War would have been a far different experience--indeed, without the close-up coverage of the war in Vietnam, our opinions about war itself would be far different. Now, in Television: An International History, the first illustrated history of our most influential cultural phenomenon, readers will find an invaluable resource that covers the whole expanse of the medium, from Africa to Australia, from Burbank to Bangkok, covering news, sports, drama, comedy, and more. Written by a distinguished team of specialists, Television describes the history of T.V. from its technical conception in the nineteenth century right through the bewildering multimedia developments of the present. Alongside this historical account, chapters provide an important discussion of the central debates affecting television worldwide, from technological developments to programming (how it differs around the world, and how it has evolved over the years), and from television's impact on society (including questions of violence and social standards) to television's relationship to terrorism. Television has been seen as simply yet another market, and as a social tool; it has been condemned, controlled, and (rarely) praised as a social good. Yet, in many ways, television has shaped modern culture, and social life now revolves around entertainment in the home in a way unthinkable sixty years ago, forcing us to examine such questions as: How have viewing practices affected our homes? How do we arrive at fair standards of taste and decency? And how does government influence television? For example, will the role of public service broadcasting drastically change, or altogether disappear, as Congress considers slashing its funding? Vividly illustrated and accessibly written, Television is a major exploration of the world's most dominant and defining medium. It will intrigue anyone interested in its early beginnings, its impact on our society, and its not-so-distant future.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Albert Abramson
  • William Boddy
  • Anthony Smith
  • Richard Paterson
  • Michael Tracey
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1995


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