Oxford University Press
August 10, 2000
This book makes the startling case that North Americans were getting on the “information highway” as early as the 1700s, and have been using it as a critical part of their social, economic, and political world ever since.
By the time of the founding of the United States, there was a postal system and roads for the distribution of mail, as well as newspapers, books, and broadsides to bring information to a populace that was building a nation on the basis of an informed electorate. In the 19th century, Americans developed the telegraph, telephone, and motion pictures, inventions that further expanded the reach of information. In the 20th century they added television, computers, and the Internet, ultimately connecting themselves to a whole world of information. From the beginning Americans were willing to invest heavily in the infrastructure to make such connectivity possible. This book explores what the deployment of these technologies says about U.S. society.
The editors assembled a group of contributors who are experts in their particular fields, from management consulting to history to sociology, and worked with them to create a book that is fully integrated and cross-referenced. An important new look at American history, A Nation Transformed by Information will interest anyone who wants to understand how the United States has stepped so confidently into the latest Information Age.
Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., is the Strauss Professor of Business History, Emeritus, in the Graduate School of Business Administration at Harvard University. He is the author of Strategy and Structure (1962), The Visible Hand (1977), and Scale and Scope (1990), among other volumes. He has won many prizes, including the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes. Chandler is currently studying the way industries have acquired and leveraged their knowledge for strategic and competitive success.
James W. Cortada is an Executive Consultant with IBM Global Services. He is the author of a number of books on the management and history of information technology. Some of his recent publications include Before the Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand and the Industry They Created, 1865-1956 (1993), The Computer in the United States (1993), and Best Practices in Information Technology (1998). His primary area of historical research is on how businesses used information processing.