Also By This Author
From the author of A Splendid Exchange comes a remarkable history of mediafrom the creation of the alphabet through the invention of the Internetand how it has shaped human society over millennia
Masters of the Word
How Media Shaped History from the Alphabet to the Internet
978-0-8021-2139-4 • $18.00 • Paperback • July 2014
“[Bernstein] enables us to see what remains the same, even as much has changed: Henry VIII had William Tyndale burned at the stake for making the Bible available in English; today, dictators and their henchmen beat up and murder protestors by the hundreds, likewise (simply put) to maintain control of information.” Library Journal (Editors’ Pick)
“An accessible, quite enjoyable, and highly informative read that will hold surprises even for those familiar with some of the history he covers.” Booklist
In Masters of the Word, William J. Bernstein, the celebrated author of A Splendid Exchange, chronicles the history of media, starting with the origin of writing thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia. The revolutionary tool gave rise to the world’s empires and the birth of drama and democracy. But it’s not just new communication technologies that have changed the worldit’s access to them. Vernacular bibles gave rise to religious dissent, but it was only when the combination of cheaper paper and Gutenberg’s printing press drove down the cost of books by 97 percent that the fuse of Reformation was lit. The Industrial Revolution allowed information to move faster and farther than ever before, though it concentrated power and enabled totalitarian governments. With the twenty-first century boom of the mobile Internet, control of media has again spread, and the world is both more connected and freer than ever before. An utterly captivating, enlightening book, Masters of the Word will change the way you look at technology, human history, and power.