This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story…

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the… (original 1998; edition 2014)

by Tom Standage (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0171912,191 (3.87)43
Title:The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers
Authors:Tom Standage (Author)
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2014), Edition: 2, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-Line Pioneers by Tom Standage (1998)

  1. 10
    A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable by John Steele Gordon (ABVR)
    ABVR: Another short (< 250 page), well-written, non-technical history of the telegraph in the 19C. Gordon focuses on one piece of the core infrastructure, Standage on the instrument itself and its social impact.
  2. 10
    Future Shock by Alvin Toffler (fugitive)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This is one of my favorite books of the last few years and has been one of the books I have frequently given to people as a present.

The idea of the book is that the telegraph was as revolutionary as the internet with everything from on-line gaming to on-line dating having been developed together with the telegraph. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 27, 2016 |
So, this is a fairly dull and easy to read history of the telegraph. The earlier chapters are certainly the most interesting, but it very much glosses over electric theory of the time, and how inventors found out more about electricity.

This was heading to a solid 3 stars. And then I got to the last chapter--The Legacy of the Telegraph. He tries to force the "Victorian Internet" a little too hard. Sure codes were used on the telegraph and on the internet. But weren't they used by homing pigeon as well? The telegraph was not the beginning of industrialization or long-distance or wartime communication, and that gets shoved to back burner by the time the last chapter rolls around. He was doing just fine up to that point.

( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
The Victorian Internet was published in 1998 at the height of the Internet's new popularity. At the time I thought an analogy with telegraphy seemed like a cheap gimmick and so I didn't read it - anyway I was too busy working at an Internet company. Now many editions later, including an introduction by the father of the Internet Vince Cerf, I discovered it's real strength is not to dwell on telegraphy versus the Internet, rather to use the context of the Internet as a gateway for understanding telegraphy. It allows for understanding an aspect of the Industrial Revolution from about 1840 to 1870 in a personal way because it was so similar to the Internet revolution of our own time. Standage doesn't tell us they are similar, he doesn't need to. Although the technologies are different, the cultural impacts are nearly identical, people don't change. Indeed the telegraph probably had a more profound change on culture in the 19th century then the Internet in the 21st (although the Internet story is not over).

This is fun, well written and interesting narrative history. It is also a lesson how disruptive technology can be, yet also how fleeting and soon forgotten. Telegraphy was a central part of everyone's life but with the telephone it was gone (though not overnight). How long will the Internet last? The telegraph was dominate for about 40 years. The Internet has been a part of mass culture since about 1992 (invention of the web browser and deregulation of the backbone for commercial use) or only about 20 years. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Apr 9, 2015 |
A fun and lightweight read about the history and development of the telegraph. The parrallels with the Internet are clearly the focus but they don't seem stretched or far fetched at all. Light and simple but with enough detail to be engaging and informative.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
I was surprised at how fascinating I found this book, the story of the first global communications network. Today's internet closely parallels the growth of the telegraph, at least as it was in Europe, where tariffs were kept low, so it was used much more by the general public than. In the US, higher rates kept it more for business use. The public understanding was sometimes amusing. Some thought the wires were hollow and messages were sucked through them. "It's just tubes!" Sound familiar? Attempts at regulation and the forbidding of code usage all eventually failed.

Quick read ( )
1 vote bke | Mar 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
"an engaging and readable account of the invention, growth, and decline of the telegraph. "
added by wademlee | editLibrary Journal, Wade Lee

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Standage, Tomprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snow, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Mr & Mrs G.
First words
In the nineteenth century, there were no televisions, aeroplanes, computers, or spacecraft; neither were there antibiotics, credit cards, microwave ovens, compact discs, or mobile phones.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425171698, Paperback)

Imagine an almost instantaneous communication system that would allow people and governments all over the world to send and receive messages about politics, war, illness, and family events. The government has tried and failed to control it, and its revolutionary nature is trumpeted loudly by its backers. The Internet? Nope, the humble telegraph fit this bill way back in the 1800s. The parallels between the now-ubiquitous Internet and the telegraph are amazing, offering insight into the ways new technologies can change the very fabric of society within a single generation. In The Victorian Internet, Tom Standage examines the history of the telegraph, beginning with a horrifically funny story of a mile-long line of monks holding a wire and getting simultaneous shocks in the interest of investigating electricity, and ending with the advent of the telephone. All the early "online" pioneers are here: Samuel Morse, Thomas Edison, and a seemingly endless parade of code-makers, entrepreneurs, and spies who helped ensure the success of this communications revolution. Fans of Longitude will enjoy another story of the human side of dramatic technological developments, complete with personal rivalry, vicious competition, and agonizing failures. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:11 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A new paperback edition of the first book by the bestselling author of "A History of the World in 6 Glasses"--the fascinating story of the telegraph, the world's first "Internet," which revolutionized the nineteenth century even more than the Internet has the twentieth and twenty first. "The Victorian Internet "tells the colorful story of the telegraph's creation and remarkable impact, and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it, from the eighteenth-century French scientist Jean-Antoine Nollet to Samuel F. B. Morse and Thomas Edison. The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since, and its story mirrors and predicts that of the Internet in numerous ways.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.87)
2 9
3 25
3.5 9
4 73
4.5 4
5 26

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 130,125,545 books! | Top bar: Always visible