Understanding Media

Understanding Media : The Extensions of Man

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This reissue of Understanding Media marks the thirtieth anniversary (1964-1994) of Marshall McLuhan's classic expose on the state of the then emerging phenomenon of mass media. Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate. There has been a notable resurgence of interest in McLuhan's work in the last few years, fueled by the recent and continuing conjunctions between the cable companies and the regional phone companies, the appearance of magazines such as WiRed, and the development of new media models and information ecologies, many of which were spawned from MIT's Media Lab. In effect, media now begs to be redefined. In a new introduction to this edition of Understanding Media, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham reevaluates McLuhan's work in the light of the technological as well as the political and social changes that have occurred in the last part of this century.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 389 pages
  • 149.86 x 226.06 x 25.4mm | 566.99g
  • MIT Press Ltd
  • MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Mass., United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0262631598
  • 9780262631594
  • 206,879

Review quote

...the most brilliant marketing mind of all belonged to Marshall McLuhan. Understanding Media is a timeless analysis of how language, speech and technology shape human behavior in the era of mass communication. The book is a cautionary tale for marketers today who hear the Web's siren call and ignore the power of the spoken word. Wall Street Journalshow more

Review Text

The Director of the Center for the Study of the Extensions of Man at the University of Toronto, Marshall MoLuhan here investigates the psychic and social consequences of technological media on man and his societies. The medium itself, rather than the content, is the message, he asserts, and turns to inspect the manner in which it affects us. He extends his inquiry beyond the expected media of print, radio, television, telephone to include "the mechanical bride" - the automobile, clothing - "our extended skin," money, clocks, housing. He differentiates between the cool and hot media, the former leaving more for the participant or user to do, the latter more comprehensive in its content - and indicates how these affect diversely the tribal or the individualistic culture. His insights into the nature of our society, the role the media play in it, the meaning of media, the actualities of the cold war (again that temperature reading is important) are provocative and brilliant. The printed word, however, is a cold medium, and this book requires concentrated reader application for reward. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2,360 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
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4 34% (807)
3 19% (446)
2 4% (104)
1 1% (27)
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