Books about Media History

Top Ten

  1. The Race Beat by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff; Random House, 2006 — Excellent and long-awaited book about how the media covered Civil Rights.
  2. Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion,  1922
  3. Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, (New York: Harper Colophone, 1961)
  4. Louis L. Snyder and Richard B. Morris, A Treasury of Great Reporting, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1962) —  Includes Dickens, Defoe, Hemmingway, William Howard Russell, and many others.
  5. Daniel Czitrom, Media and the American Mind: From Morse to McLuhan, (Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 1983)
  6. George Seldes, Witness to a Century, (New York: Ballentine Books, 1987) — A favorite book by a first-rate reporter who covered nearly all of the 20th century.
  7. Brooke Kroeger, Nellie Bly:: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist (Three Rivers Press, 1995)
  8. Robert X. Cringley, Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date, (New York: Harper Papersbacks, 1996)
  9. Jonathan Zittrain, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006)
  10. Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. (New York: Farrar, Straux and Giroux, 2006

PUBLIC DOMAIN BOOKS on the web

Other lists

Available in libraries

Publishing and journalism (Chs 1 – 3)

  • Witness to a Century by George Seldes; Ballentine, 1987 — A favorite book by a first-rate reporter who covered nearly all of the 20th century.
  • The Powers that Be, by David Halberstam; Knopf, 1979 — A personal and social history of newspaper publishers, focusing mostly on the Washington Post, L.A. Times and New York Times.
  • The Race Beat by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff; Random House, 2006 — Excellent and long-awaited book about how the media covered Civil Rights. Also in this category:  The Changing South of Gene Patterson, Edited by Roy Peter Clark and Raymond Arsenault, Univ. of Florida Press, 2002.
  • The Life and Death of the Press Barons, by Piers Brendon (New York: Atheneum, 1983)– An up-close and very personal account of the lives of newspaper publishers that deserves to be better known.
  • The Last Editor, by Jim Bellows; Andrews-McNeil, 2002
  • Newspapermen, by Ruth Dudley Edwards, Seeker & Warburg, 2003 — Terrific book about the glory days of London’s fleet street publishing industry during the 1930s – 60s period.
  • The Good Times, by Russell Baker; Penguin 1989 — A favorite and colorful book about working at the Baltimore Sun when it was still a great newspaper.
  • A Good Life, by Ben Bradlee, Simon & Schuster, 1995 – A great memoir by the editor of the Washignton Post during the Watergate scandal.
  • The Chief, by David Nassaw. Houghton Mifflin, 2000 — Definitive   biography of William Randolph Hearst. Nassaw made a major contribution to the great documentary “The Battle Over Citizen Kane,” also highly recommended.
  • Louis L. Snyder and Richard B. Morris, A Treasury of Great Reporting, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1962) — The best compilation of great reporting printed to date.  Includes Dickens, DeFoe, Hemmingway, William Howard Russell, and many others.

Photography and film  (Chs 4 – 5)

  • Tino Balio, “United Artists: the company that changed the film industry,” (Madison, WI.:  University of Wisconsin Press, 1987)
  • James Curtis, Mind’s Eye, Mind’s Truth: FSA Photography Reconsidered, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991)
  • Gisele Freund, Photography and Society, (Boston, Godine, 1980)
  • A. Sharf, Art and Photography,  (London, Penguin Press, 1968)
  • VD Coke, The Painter and the Photograph, ( Albuquerque, N.M.: University of New Mexico press, 1972)

Advertising and public relations (Ch 6)

  • Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, (New York: Harper Colophone, 1961)
  • Ray Hiebert, Courtier To the Crowd: The Story of Ivy Lee and the Development of Public Relations, (Sioux City: Iowa State University Press, 1966)
  • Roland Marchand, Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business,  (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998)
  • Alec Waugh, The Lipton Story, (New York: Doubleday, 1950)

Broadcasting and electronics  (Chs 7 – 9)

  • Eric Barnouw, The Image Empire: A History of Broadcasting in the United States, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, , 1970)
  • A Reporters Life, by Walter Cronkite; Knopf, 1997 — A warm and human book about a great broadcasting icon.
  • Ithiel de Sola Pool, Technologies of Freedom, (Boston: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1984)
  • Bernard Timberg, Television Talk, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002)

Computing and Networks  (Chs 10 – 12)

  • Tim Berners-Lee with Mark Fischetti, Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web, (New York: Harper, , 1999)
  • Robert X. Cringley, Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date, (New York: Harper Papersbacks, 1996)
  • Vannevar Bush, Modern Arms and Free Men: A Discussion of the Role of Science in Preserving Democracy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1949).
  • Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. (New York: Farrar, Straux and Giroux, 2006)
  • Shel Israel, Twitterville (New York: Penguin, 2009).
  • Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity (London: Penguin, 2005).  Also see his TED 2007 talk: “Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity
  • John Markoff, What the Doormouse said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, (New York: Viking 2005)
  • M. Mitchell Waldrop, The Dream Machine: J. C. R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal (New York: Viking Penguin, 2001).
  • Jonathan Zittrain, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006)

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