October 9, 1997
The originator of such widely used phrases as “the global village” and “the medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan – the prescient media guru – is finally attracting the critical attention he deserves. In the 1960s, McLuhan blazed the intellectual territory which we are only coming to grips with today. This couldn’t be a better time for a readable, full-scale treatment of his writings, a book that reflects the range and depth of his thought accurately and accessibly. Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding fills this gap.
W. Terence Gordon traces McLuhan’s beginnings in the Prairie city of Edmonton, Alberta, through his education at Cambridge and teaching in America to his startling breakthroughs in communication while at the University of Toronto. McLuhan’s central place in the ferment of the 1960s is evocatively drawn and the formation of his most brilliant insights into the media are clearly explained. This is the first book to mine McLuhan’s extensive personal and public writings – journal entries; correspondence with family and luminaries such as Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, Peter Drucker, and Clare Booth Luce; manuscript notes and files; and all of his publications – to bring us an authoritative, well-rounded, and passionate portrait of one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers.
Written in the best tradition of intellectual biography, Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding will infect readers with the vitality of McLuhan’s ideas, drawing them into his mind and leaving them with an indelible image of the warm, whimsical, spiritual man whose playful conceptual explorations revolutionize the way we see the world.
W. Terence Gordon, PhD, studied at the University of Toronto, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He is the author of twelve books, including McLuhan for Beginners, and more than one hundred articles in the fields of linguistics, pedagogy, semiotics, and intellectual history. Since 1972, Gordon has been on the faculty of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he teaches courses in linguistics, translating, the role of radio in World War II, and, of course, McLuhan.