In the twenty-first century, it can be difficult to appreciate the truly revolutionary nature of the telegraph. The nearly instantaneous nature of communication on a practically global scale had no precedent. Gutenberg's press ushered in an era of broad and, later, mass distribution of ideas, and improvements in sailing technology and the later invention of steamships hastened the movement of people, goods, and ideas. Neither, however, could compete with the telegraph for immediately connecting distant places. Daniel Walker Howe's brilliant What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (2007) even uses the advent of the telegraph as a focal point for understanding the United States in the early to mid-nineteenth century. John A. Britton's Cables, Crises, and the Press is not nearly as ambitious, but it is a welcome contribution to our understanding of the introduction of a foreign technology to...

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