The Ascent of Media: From Gilgamesh to Google via Gutenburg (Hardback)
  • The Ascent of Media: From Gilgamesh to Google via Gutenburg (Hardback)
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The Ascent of Media: From Gilgamesh to Google via Gutenburg (Hardback)

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£20.00
Hardback 416 Pages / Published: 22/09/2011
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Our society is shaped by our media - now more than at any time in history. They play a crucial role in culture, commerce and politics alike. The Ascent of Media is the first book to look at the new digital era in the context of all that has gone before, and to build on the past to describe the media landscape of the future.

Roger Parry takes us on a journey from the earliest written story - the Legend of Gilgamesh etched on clay tablets - to the Gutenberg press, and from the theatres of Athens to satellite TV and the coming semantic web. Tracing 3000 years of history, he shows how today's media have been shaped by the interaction of politics, economics and technology. He explains why Britain has the public service BBC whilst America developed the private broadcasting networks ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. He profiles the people and organizations that have created the media world and reveals the often surprising stories behind such ubiquitous items as the keyboard, telephone dial and tabloid.

The book shows that issues of today such as a sensationalist press, piracy, monopoly, walled gardens and balancing advertising and subscription revenue have all happened before. Each upheaval in the media world - the development of moveable type printing in the 1450s; the telegraph network in the 1850s; radio broadcasting in the 1920s; and digital distribution in the 2000s - created huge fortunes, challenged authority and raised fundamental issues of copyright, privacy and censorship. Traditional media then adapt, evolve and go on to thrive in the face of competition.

The convergence of the internet, mobile phones and tablet computers is now transforming our culture. Established media giants are struggling, while new firms like Google and Apple are thriving. The superabundance of media, with increasing amounts generated by consumers themselves, means that media professionals are becoming curators as much as creators of content. The Ascent of Media traces the story of media from clay tablets to tabloids to the tablet computer. It relates how we got where we are and, based on the experience of history, where we are likely to go next.

Publisher: John Murray Press
ISBN: 9781857885705
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 768 g
Dimensions: 241 x 163 x 36 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Roger Parry's scholarly journey through the history of media contains important lessons for today's digital pioneers. Roger Parry is a wise, experienced media operator and observer. His range is wide across books, comics, radio, movies, video games, theatre and more with eclectic taste and a gift for detail. But one theme, essentially, covers all. He perceives a public hunger for information, entertainment, and shared experience growing invention by invention, device by device: he extrapolates Aristotle's city on a global scale. He stresses ways as well as means. Were Defoe and mates the first bloggers? Were the random collection of contributors who compiled the earliest news sheets really citizen journalists? He binds evolving society and accelerating communication together. He seems to see the whole picture. So we can finally begin to get a handle on a future that, in essence if not in precise physical form, our children's children will recognise 50 years hence. And Parry's textbook? That may be still read for its scholarship and plain old-fashioned common sense by students of life itself. -- Peter Preston * The Observer *
The Ascent of Media, Roger Parry's new book tracing how we moved from clay tablets to Apple's iPad...anyone trying to forecast the media's future should find [this] sobering...[An] important lesson stems from Mr Parry's central thesis: all media developments are shaped by politics, economics and technology -- Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson * Financial Times *
The Ascent of Media is really about the ascent of man: from a species that started recording his life experience on clay tablets and now records it on computer tablets. In Mr. Parry s view, the future isn t a rejection of the past. It s just a natural evolution. There are two reasons to read any book: To learn or to be entertained. With The Ascent of Media, Roger Parry manages to do both. We can t wait to see the movie. -- David Bernstein and Beau Fraser, co-authors of Death to all Sacred Cows
Whatever the technology, mankind has always enjoyed a good story. The Ascent of Media tells a cracking story with a cornucopia of insights. Read Roger Parry and you're equipped to imagine where digital media might take us next. -- Peter Bazalgette, TV producer and President, Royal Television Society
Media are going through huge changes. This book provides a thought provoking read and a terrific insight into where we are now and where media might go next. -- James Palumbo, founder of Ministry of Sound
The aptly titled Ascent of Media is a must for anyone with even a passing interest in today's vast and exploding world of media. From students of the industry to the leaders of businesses who may struggle to know how to spend their shareholders advertising money wisely, Roger Parry provides insights into what is really happening in the digital chaos of the twenty-first century... -- Richard Wheatly, Chief Executive of Jazz FM
The Ascent of Media is a wonderful overview of the history of all forms of media and the key people responsible for their development. It leaves the reader in no doubt as to its power to influence our opinions and emotions, leverage commercial and political messages, stimulate the senses and at the same time enhance our productivity. -- Neil Blackley, director of Ingenious Media, former Head of UK and European Media Research, Merrill Lynch
Roger's enjoyable and wide-ranging book should definitely be read by young people entering or thinking of entering the media industry, but also by older people like me already passionately immersed in it and wrestling daily with the digital monster. -- Richard Hooper, former Deputy Chairman of the Office of Communications (Ofcom)
Roger Parry provides a fascinating narrative of media past, present and future which will inform all practitioners and all who are interested in the development of the zeitgeist and of the great forces in society. The shape of the media is constantly altered by changes in technology, lifestyles and fashion, and the media affect all political, commercial, cultural and scientific developments. -- Claire Enders, media analyst
Roger Parry is extraordinarily well placed to provide this informed tour d horizon of media. It is rare to find insight illuminated by both creative and commercial expertise. But no appraisal of the development of modern media would be complete without such an inclusive perspective. Parry is exceptionally well placed to provide it. -- Richard Eyre, Chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau, and ex-CEO of ITV and ex-CEO of Capital Radio

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