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Wired into nature : the telegraph and the North American frontier

Author: James Schwoch
Publisher: Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2018]
Series: History of communication.
Edition/Format:   Print book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
The completion of the Transcontinental Telegraph in 1861 represented an extraordinary American effort in many fields of endeavor to know, act upon, and control a continent. Merging new research with bold interpretation, James Schwoch details the unexplored dimensions of the frontier telegraph and its impact. The westward spread of telegraphy entailed encounters with environments that challenged Americans to acquire  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: James Schwoch
ISBN: 9780252041778 0252041771 9780252083402 0252083407
OCLC Number: 1004763622
Description: 248 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Contents: Landscapes, ecosystems, and prevailing westerlies : the Great Plains --
Storms moving in a ring of fire : the Civil War --
Changes in the forecast : data gathering, mapping, and weather predictions --
Dreams of a boreal empire, nightmares of a polar vortex : the Arctic --
Hot winds on a sun-baked desert : the Southwest.
Series Title: History of communication.
Other Titles: Telegraph and the North American frontier
Responsibility: James Schwoch.

Abstract:

The completion of the Transcontinental Telegraph in 1861 represented an extraordinary American effort in many fields of endeavor to know, act upon, and control a continent. Merging new research with bold interpretation, James Schwoch details the unexplored dimensions of the frontier telegraph and its impact. The westward spread of telegraphy entailed encounters with environments that challenged Americans to acquire knowledge of natural history, climate, and a host of other fields. Telegraph codes and ciphers, meanwhile, became important political, military, and economic secrets. Schwoch shows how the government's use of commercial networks drove a relationship between the two sectors that served increasingly expansionist aims. He also reveals the telegraph's role in securing high ground and encouraging surveillance. Both became vital aspects of the American effort to contain, and conquer, the West's indigenous peoples--and part of a historical arc of concerns about privacy, data gathering, and surveillance that remains pertinent today. -- Back cover.

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"This book is not to be missed by serious students of information technology." --The Journal of American History "Wired into Nature, which includes many helpful illustrations, is based on enormous Read more...

 
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