The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers
I came across this title when I read the author's A History of the World in Six Glasses but have only now made the time to read it. It is what it purports to be: the story of the telegraph with heavy comparisons to the internet. Indeed, the writers of one of my favourite TV shows (The Murdoch Mysteries) may have been inspired by this book when they wrote an episode involving characters who are "telegraphers", illustrating many of the same points that Standage makes -- and containing the same comparisons to our present-day internet. In reading this book, much of the hype of the internet falls away. Even such novelties as internet-assisted weddings are ho hum. People were getting married over the telegraph within months of it being open to the public.With the laying of the Transatlantic Cable, a message that would have taken weeks by boat could be sent in mere seconds. What invention of today can truly compare with a change of that magnitude?