Book Review: The History of Wireless: How Creative Minds Produced Technology for the Masses

I am WAY overdue on this book review. Ira had kindly provided a review copy which I read, stalled and the reread.

“The History of Wireless: How Creative Minds Produced Technology for the Masses” by Ira Brodsky KC9TC is in many respects Three Books in one volume.

The History of Wireless - Front Cover

The History of Wireless - Front Cover

Part I captured my attention with its clarity in achieving focus in the complex interplay of the development of “Natural Science” told in the sorties of Hertz, Volta and “the gang.” I corresponded several times with Ira with my appreciation of the scholarly effort he had made to work out a unified human & science timeline, and then the efforts to narrate it in a personable & living form.

The interactions (and sometime lacks of interactions) between characters like Lodge, Faraday, Maxwell and “the gang” truly provides a rich background to man’s explorations in early electricity.

Part II could be subtitled “The Engineers” as its focus is on the interplay & developments made under the second great wave of innovators – Marconi, Armstrong, de Forest, Fessenden and other engineering vanguards – as they took “Natural Science” to commercial products – again an inspiring tale well told!

Part III takes up the transition to more modern wireless communication – cell phones, trunked arrangements and similar refinements. These successive waves of technological advancement are covered fairly rapidly, and perhaps my lesser interest in the “variations on a theme” this phase of development is shared by Ira as a lot of development is paraphrased.

The Last Portion of the book, which is too small for my giving a section number, is less satisfying than the three main sections, especially sections I & II, as it briefly touches on creativity as a key in advancement. The evidence may be in the earlier sections, but underdeveloped, making a leap to this conclusion the least satisfying portion of the book.

A few reference sections round out the offering – glossary and references.

On its own “The History of Wireless: How Creative Minds Produced Technology for the Masses” is worth owning & reading for the first two sections – they show creativity in how Ira works the timeline of science & technology to put life into the story. Very good read.

The Section III coverage almost should stand on its own in a separate expanded volume, and the conclusion section has such an intriguing premise that it too deserves development in something many more than less than a dozen pages.

A worth addition to your amateur radio library and an enjoyable read.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/History-Wireless-Creative-Produced-Technology/dp/0980038308

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