Wiring the World

The Social and Cultural Creation of Global Telegraph Networks

Simone M. Müller

Columbia University Press

Wiring the World

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Pub Date: April 2016

ISBN: 9780231174329

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£49.95

Pub Date: April 2016

ISBN: 9780231540261

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99£49.95

Wiring the World

The Social and Cultural Creation of Global Telegraph Networks

Simone M. Müller

Columbia University Press

The successful laying of a transatlantic cable in 1866 remade world communications. A message could travel across the ocean in minutes, shrinking the space between continents, cultures, and nations. An eclectic group of engineers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and media visionaries then developed this technology into a telecommunications system that spread a particular vision of civilization—but not everyone wanted to wire the world the same way.

Wiring the World is a cultural and social history that explores how the large Anglo-American cable companies won out over alternative visions. Bitter rivalries emerged over telegram prices, visions for world peace, scientific innovation, and the role of the nation-state. Such struggles determined the growth of cable technology, which in turn influenced world history. Filled with fascinating characters and new insights into pivotal events, Wiring the World traces globalization's diverse paths and close ties to business and politics.
Based on a clear knowledge of the state of the art, while adopting a solid methodology and robust concepts, Müller is able to provide a fresh history of the development of telegraph networks during the nineteenth century in a truly global perspective. Pascal Griset, Sorbonne
Wiring the World is a story not only of technical and entrepreneurial achievement but of imperial rivalry, the rise of professions, complex cultural interactions, far-reaching social changes, and a remapping of the meaning of maritime space. Focusing on one of the major developments of the communications revolution—the linking together of much of the world with submarine cable lines in the era before World War I—Simone M. Müller's carefully crafted study contributes significantly to the history and theory of globalization. Emily S. Rosenberg, editor of A World Connecting, 1870-1945 (Harvard University Press, 2012)
By reconstructing the social networks that linked nineteenth-century British, German, and American North Atlantic telegraph promoters, Wiring the World provides us with a wealth of intriguing and sometimes startling insights into the cultural significance of the Atlantic cable—one of the most iconic technological innovations of the age. Richard R. John, author of Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications
An excellent resource for communications history. Highly recommended. CHOICE
A valuable and illuminating analysis. Connections
Based on voluminous research, and written in a clear and accessible fashion, Wiring the World is a notable contribution to the history of globalization and technology. Duncan Bell, Times Literary Supplement
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Class of 1866
1. Networking the Atlantic
2. The Battle for Cable Supremacy
3. The Imagined Globe
4. Weltcommunication
5. The Professionalization of the Telegraph Engineer
6. Cable Diplomacy and Imperial Control
7. The Wiring of the World
Appendix: Actors of Globalization
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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About the Author

Simone M. Müller is Project Director & Principal Investigator at DFG-Emmy Noether Research Group "Hazardous Travels. Ghost Acres and the Global Waste Economy" at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.