The Master Switch

  • by Tim Wu
  • Narrated by Marc Vietor
  • 14 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A secret history of the industrial wars behind the rise and fall of the 20th century's great information empires - Hollywood, the broadcast networks, and AT&T - asking one big question: Could history repeat itself, with one giant entity taking control of American information?
Most consider the Internet Age to be a moment of unprecedented freedom in communications and culture. But as Tim Wu shows, each major new medium, from telephone to cable, arrived on a similar wave of idealistic optimism only to become, eventually, the object of industrial consolidation profoundly affecting how Americans communicate. Every once-free and open technology was in time centralized and closed, a huge corporate power taking control of the master switch. Today, as a similar struggle looms over the Internet, increasingly the pipeline of all other media, the stakes have never been higher. To be decided: who gets heard, and what kind of country we live in. Part industrial exposé, part meditation on the nature of freedom of expression, part battle cry to save the Internet's best features, The Master Switch brings to light a crucial drama rife with indelible characters and stories, heretofore played out over decades in the shadows of our national life.


What the Critics Say

“Wu’s engaging narrative and remarkable historical detail make this a compelling and galvanizing cry for sanity - and necessary deregulation - in the information age.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This is an essential look at the directions that personal computing could be headed depending on which policies and worldviews come to dominate control over the Internet.” (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Brilliant technological non fiction

A well written account of the similarities between 19th and 20th century cycles of communication technology. Never dry, this is a story of interesting inventors and the villains they came up against or became. Recommended for anyone who wants to understand the Internet in the context of the last 150 years. Perfectly narrated.
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- Mick Conroy


Complex, inaccessible ideas expertly articulated and illustrated. A wonderful book, highly recommended. Well worth reading.
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- Brendan McCarthy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-11-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios