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The Man Who Networked the World

«Marc Raboy is an observant and sure-footed guide...»

Mary K. MacLeod, Metascience

A little over a century ago, the world went wireless. Cables and all their limiting inefficiencies gave way to a revolutionary means of transmitting news and information almost everywhere, instantaneously. Les mer

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A little over a century ago, the world went wireless. Cables and all their limiting inefficiencies gave way to a revolutionary means of transmitting news and information almost everywhere, instantaneously. By means of "Hertzian waves," as radio waves were initially known, ships could now make contact with other ships (saving lives, such as on the doomed S.S. Titanic); financial markets could coordinate with other financial markets, establishing the price of
commodities and fixing exchange rates; military commanders could connect with the front lines, positioning artillery and directing troop movements. Suddenly and irrevocably, time and space telescoped beyond what had been thought imaginable. Someone had not only imagined this networked world but realized it:
Guglielmo Marconi.

As Marc Raboy shows us in this enthralling and comprehensive biography, Marconi was the first truly global figure in modern communications. Born to an Italian father and an Irish mother, he was in many ways stateless, working his cosmopolitanism to advantage. Through a combination of skill, tenacity, luck, vision, and timing, Marconi popularized-and, more critically, patented-the use of radio waves. Soon after he burst into public view at the age of 22 with a demonstration of his wireless
apparatus in London, 1896, he established his Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company and seemed unstoppable. He was decorated by the Czar of Russia, named an Italian Senator, knighted by King George V of England, and awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics-all before the age of 40. Until his death in 1937,
Marconi was at the heart of every major innovation in electronic communication, courted by powerful scientific, political, and financial interests. He established stations and transmitters in every corner of the globe, from Newfoundland to Buenos Aires, Hawaii to Saint Petersburg.

Based on original research and unpublished archival materials in four countries and several languages, Raboy's book is the first to connect significant parts of Marconi's story, from his early days in Italy, to his groundbreaking experiments, to his protean role in world affairs. Raboy also explores Marconi's relationshps with his wives, mistresses, and children, and examines in unsparing detail the last ten years of the inventor's life, when he returned to Italy and became a pillar of Benito
Mussolini's fascist regime. Raboy's engrossing biography, which will stand as the authoritative work of its subject, proves that we still live in the world Marconi created.


Oxford University Press Inc
21 x 14 cm

Om forfatteren

Mark Raboy is Professor and Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media, and Communications in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.


«Marc Raboy is an observant and sure-footed guide...»

Mary K. MacLeod, Metascience

«2017 RBC Taylor Prize Finalist»

«[A]n informative, readable, and pleasurable account that will provide abundant insights into Marconi's life...[T]his book represents a remarkable, balanced contribution to the understanding of a seminal figure in the history of the modern world...Recommended.»


«Finally, the comprehensive, rounded, readable and deeply researched biography of Marconi that so significant a figure of change deserves. It is an elegant, ambitious, and brilliant treatment of an elegant, ambitious, and brilliant figure.»

Monroe E. Price, Director, Center for Global Communications Studies, Annenberg School for Communicat

«Marconi is a tour de force, revealing the fascinating history of one of the most influential figures in the history of modern technology and the communications revolution. Employing a wide range of archival sources, Raboy crafts a highly readable story of a man who is at times heroic, at times a cad. He is unflinching in exposing the major role Marconi played in support of Mussolini's Fascist regime.»

David Kertzer, author of The Pope and Mussolini, Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Biography

«Like the networked world that he imagined, Marconi was both complicated and elusive. Raboy's compelling and comprehensive biography places the inventor and entrepreneur at the origin of today's debates about communications, corporations, and capitalism.»

W. Patrick McCray, Professor of History, University of California at Santa Barbara

«An obvious labor of love, this is the definitive biography of Marconi. Elegantly written and exhaustively researched, Marconi is an extremely impressive and deeply nuanced exploration of the inventor, the man, and the ongoing importance of his legacy.»

Susan J. Douglas, University of Michigan; author of Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination

«Marc Raboy's book is by far the most comprehensive rendering of Marconi's life and times I have seen. Drawing on numerous and in some cases only recently available resources, Marconi's story is re-told in vivid terms and contemporary context." -Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer»

«Rescuing his subject from hagiography, Marc Raboy gives us the first real account of Marconi's vital role as the wizard of wireless, industry developer, and consummate political insider. Raboy's impeccably researched biography will help guide histories of global media in the years ahead. A superb work of scholarship.»

Dwayne Winseck, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University

«A comprehensive portrait of a complicated man, Raboy's meticulous, judicious work merits anchorage on science-history shelves.»

Booklist, Starred Review

«Professor Raboy is to be congratulated on producing this definitive biography that deserves a very wide readership.»

David Harris, Radio User

«[Raboy ] is especially adroit at portraying how Marconi was swept up in the modern world he helped create... Marconi really hums when Raboy details how his subject was implicated in the social and political effects of wireless... Marconi, which functions as a cultural history as much as a biography, reminds us that in its earliest incarnations, wireless had a romance and mystique.»

New York Times

«Mr. Raboy's book is a rock-solid, archivally based, professional work of history and surely one of the year's better biographies.»

Paul Kennedy, Wall Street Journal

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