Thursday, December 12, 2013

Masters of the Word: How Media Shaped History

Masters of the Word: How Media Shaped History
By William J. Bernstein
Grove Press, 2013. 448 pgs. Nonfiction.

In this his second book, Bernstein examines how writing, printing, literacy and media - and the access the common man has had to all of them - have impacted society through the ages, starting thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia and traveling up to the present day and the influx of digital media.

Bernstein presents an interesting concept: the idea that media and literacy are about power. He shows, time and again, how governments and regimes have exploited the use of media or controlled education and literacy in order to maintain power over the populace. At the same time, counter-revolutionary groups have learned that in order to combat controlling regimes, they must acquire use of media and increase literacy among the common man.

The facts Bernstein presents are interesting and serve well to support his thesis. He has clearly researched the rise and use of media extensively and is able to give a clear description not only of the history but of the motivations behind all the happenings he describes. This is a great book for anyone interested in how past innovations have changed history and are still affecting our world today.


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