Wade Rowland, Canadian author of Spirit of the Web - Internet History

Spirit of the Web - a new book on Internet history

"...remarkable...poetic...(a) renaissance sweep of imagination...SPIRIT OF THE WEB is an engaging hybrid of popular scholarship: part archive, part science textbook, part philosophy, part polemic about the nature of authority and the control of information in all ages."
The Globe and Mail "Review of Books",

"...a delight, an informed and intriguing compendium of stories and information presented in an effortless prose."
The Globe and Mail - May 1999

Buy the quality paperback release of "Spirit of the Web" online.

Read an excerpt from "Spirit of the Web"

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Learn about Wade Rowland's latest book "Galileo's Mistake"

Spirit of the Web - a new book on Internet history

Reviews of Spirit of the Web:

"...remarkable...poetic...(a) renaissance sweep of imagination...SPIRIT OF THE WEB is an engaging hybrid of popular scholarship: part archive, part science textbook, part philosophy, part polemic about the nature of authority and the control of information in all ages...Like life, digital networks are an emergent system; Rowland helps put their past and future in perspective."
The Globe and Mail "Review of Books"

"...thoroughly and trenchantly chronicles the vagaries of information technology ...a spirited, stimulating and sophisticated network of stories...philosophical and original."
Winnipeg Free Press

"...colourful and compelling...enlightening new history...Without hype or hyperbole, SPIRIT OF THE WEB provides its readers with an informed context with which to understand the implications of their actions in the Age of Information."
Quill & Quire

"Spirit of the Web is an excellent examination, not just of the invention of these technologies, but of their economic, social and cultural impact...fascinating...definitive...highly recommended."
The Leader Post

"Required reading."
The Literary Review, Globe and Mail

"A brilliant book. I couldn't put it down."
Norm Bolen, vice-president, programming, History Television

"Rare insight into the history of the information age"

"It is hard to think of a topic that has generated so much shallow commentary and narrow vision as the whole information technology revolution in general and the Internet in particular. But now and then someone comes along to take another look at things and really puts some meaning back into the discussion.

Enter Wade Rowland. Rowland is a Canadian science writer, but what impressed me most about his book is, firstly, he effectively places the whole history of technological development in a wider social context, including some interesting commentary on on the role of philosophy, and second, he is not afraid to remind us of the much ignored human dimension. In particular Rowland's treatment of the Internet is interesting and insightful, and while rightly critical of much of what has occurred (especially the debasement of popular culture under pressure from commercial interest) he is optimistic about the genuine liberatory qualities of the net (as opposed, for instance, to broadcast TV).

In my view this is an extraordinarily successful book, and hopefully raises the bar in an area where both profound thought and good writing have been rare. If you do not read any other book about the information age and the net, read this one."
Dr Peter McMahon is a writer and academic currently teaching at Murdoch University.

Spirit of the Web:
The Age of Information
from Telegraph to Internet

by Wade Rowland

Revised Edition, published 1999
416 pages - trade paperback
ISBN 1-894433-02-5
Retail price $26.95 Cdn
Key Porter Books (416) 862-7777

Bulk Sales Inquiries Contact:
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tel: (416) 862-7777

Wade Rowland is available for lectures and readings, contact by email or by phone at 905-753-2405.

Encyclopedic in its scope, Spirit of the Web is destined to become required reading in business and education, a fixture in every wired household.

From the publisher's catalogue: "The urge to communicate over distance and time is one of the most basic of human impulses. It has led us from the megaphone to the drum, to smoke signals, to the telegraph and penny post, to telephony, radio and television and finally to today's digital multimedia.

"This popular history of evolution of the ways we communication gives us fascinating and important perspective in understanding the roots of the modern electronic revolution. It shows how the wiring of our planet for the last one hundred and fifty years has led to the Global Village we now inhabit.

"This is a vast and absorbing story about the human imagination and its resourcefulness. It is a dramatic story that includes personalities and inventions; the social, economic and political consequences of those technologies, as well as a philosophical subtext about communications theory and how it has changed our world.

"Spirit of the Web is an optimistic work that points to the extraordinary promise of the Internet as a truly democratic means of communication."

Spirit of the Web - Table of Contents

Introduction: Extensions of Man

Spirt of the Web - Part I: The Analogue Era

Chapter 1: The Meaning of the Age of Information

Chapter 2: The Need to Communicate

Chapter 3: Prelude to the Telegraph

Chapter 4: The "Invention" of the Electron

Chapter 5: The Electric Telegraph

Chapter 6: A World Wide Web

Chapter 7: The Invention of the Modern Inventor

Chapter 8: The Telephone

Chapter 9: A Convivial Technology

Chapter 10: The Invention of Radio

Chapter 11: Radio Goes International

Chapter 12: How Radio Works: Hertzian Waves, Fleming's Valve and De Forest's Audion

Chapter 13: The State Muscles In

Chapter 14: How the First Mass Medium was Born

Chapter 15: Broadcasting's Pot of Gold

Chapter 16: Television

Chapter 17: The Politics of Broadcasting

Spirit of the Web - Part II: The Digital Era

Chapter 18: "Reasoning is but Reckoning":The philosophic underpinnings of the electronic computer

Chapter 19: The Amazingly Precocious Charles Babbage

Chapter 20: The Secrets of Formal Systems and the Enigmatic Alan Turing

Chapter 21: The Computer Comes of Age

Chapter 22: Information, Chaos and Reality

Chapter 23: The Prodigal Semiconductor

Chapter 24: Robert Noyce and the Integrated Circuit

Chapter 25: The Personal Computer

Chapter 26: A Digital Mardi Gras

Chapter 27: Hypertext, Search Engines and Browsers: How the Net Became a Mass Medium

Chapter 28: Anarchy, Business and Public Space: The Net Grows Up

Chapter 29: Can the Net Think?

Chapter 30: The New Economy

Chapter 31: The Promise of the Age of Information



Read an excerpt from "Spirit of the Web"


Wade Rowland is one of Canada's most respected literary journalist. He has worked for the Winnipeg Free Press, the Toronto Telegram and both national Canadian television networks: CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and the CTV Television Network. Rowland writes and lectures extensively on the new media, ethical issues, and science and technology.

Rowland is the author of a dozen other books including Spirit of the Web, a popular history of communications technologies that was selected as Required Reading for 1997 by The Globe and Mail. Other recent books by Wade Rowland include "Ockham's Razor", published April 1999 by Key Porter Books, and "Galileo's Mistake: The Archaeology of a Myth" published October 2001 by Thomas Allen Publishers. He lives with his family near Port Hope and is a principal in an Internet-based corporation.

Read full author bio of Wade Rowland.

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