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Information Ages: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Computer Revolution

by Michael E Hobart and Zachary S Schiffman Johns Hopkins University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 320 pages
AU$55.99 NZ$60.00
Product Status: In Stock Now
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& Academics:
The late twentieth century is trumpeted as the Information Age by pundits and politicians alike, and on the face of it, the claim requires no justification. But in Information Ages, Michael E. Hobart and Zachary S. Schiffman challenge this widespread assumption. In a sweeping and captivating history of information technology from the ancient Sumerians to the world of Alan Turing and John von Neumann, the authors show how revolutions in the technology of information storage–from the invention of writing approximately 5,000 years ago to the mathematical models for describing physical reality in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the introduction of computers–profoundly transformed ways of thinking.
'Grand intellectual history... What Hobart and Schiffman have achieved through this cheery analysis is one of the more decisive refutations of the various 'End of History' arguments that have been floated over the past fifteen years. Information 'ages,' they pun, but history lives forever.' -- Matthew DeBord, Salon 'Far reaching and eloquent... Hobart and Schiffman follow the dreams, trials, and successes of such innovators as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Galileo, Turing, and von Neumann as they took advantage of three distinct ages of information.' -- Publishers Weekly 'Extraordinarily timely in every sense of the word. There is no work available to my knowledge that summarizes so succinctly the relations between knowledge and its media over the entire span of human history.' -- D. R. Woolf, Dalhousie University 'This is a most interesting book... the sort of book that will be read again and again.' -- Choice 'Creates an important, wide-ranging perspective from which to view our current computer age. It is at once accurate, clear, and provocative.' -- Joan L. Richards, Brown University
Michael E. Hobart is a professor of history at Bryant College. Zachary S. Schiffman is a professor of history and chair of the Department of History at Northeastern Illinois University.