Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication

December 2001
978-0226662770

Communication plays a vital and unique role in society-often blamed for problems when it breaks down and at the same time heralded as a panacea for human relations. A sweeping history of communication, Speaking Into the Airilluminates our expectations of communication as both historically specific and a fundamental knot in Western thought.

“This is a most interesting and thought-provoking book… . Peters maintains that communication is ultimately unthinkable apart from the task of establishing a kingdom in which people can live together peacefully. Given our condition as mortals, communication remains not primarily a problem of technology, but of power, ethics and art.” —Antony Anderson, New Scientist

“Guaranteed to alter your thinking about communication… . Original, erudite, and beautifully written, this book is a gem.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Peters writes to reclaim the notion of authenticity in a media-saturated world. It’s this ultimate concern that renders his book a brave, colorful exploration of the hydra-headed problems presented by a rapid-fire popular culture.” —Publishers Weekly

What we have here is a failure-to-communicate book. Funny thing is, it communicates beautifully… . Speaking Into the Air delivers what superb serious books always do-hours of intellectual challenge as one absorbs the gradually unfolding vision of an erudite, creative author.” —Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer