The Columbia History of American Television chronicles television’s emergence as an idea whose time had finally come at the end of World War II through its eventual growth and maturation into the most influential social force in American civilization during the second half of the 20th century. Those of us who analyze TV, like scholars in most disciplines, have spent the last generation investigating ever more specialized research topics. As a result, very few one-volume histories of television even exist. What The Columbia History of American Television does is bring together a wealth of new research on TV from a wide variety of perspectives that has been produced over the last generation into a single volume—taking a more macro view of the subject—while always linking the development of television to the larger contexts of national and international history.
A Few Sample Reviews include the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media:
Positioned with the monumental works of Erik Barnouw, Asa Briggs, Christopher Sterling and John Kittross, Edgerton contributes a comprehensive study of American television's popular culture . . . The Columbia History of American Television should be on the shelf of every television historian and popular culture scholar, as well as the nonspecialist.
Communication Booknotes Quarterly:
A tour-de-force narrative of more than six decades of American television and its impact on U.S. society . . . An important contribution.
Film & History:
A marvelous, detailed, and comprehensive narrative . . . This remarkable book, unquestionably one-of-a-kind, belongs in every reference library.
Journal of American Culture:
Concise, complete, readable, and up-to-date, following television from its inception to its role in a global media age and placing it in cultural context. Destined to become a classic in the field
Journal of American Studies:
Highly informative ... eminently readable ... Edgerton tells a compelling history of the medium. His book would work well as a primer for general readers, as well as for scholars (particularly international readers) wanting to gain an understanding of the history, forms and economics of the US television system as well as pointers for further research from his meticulous referencing.
It is meticulous and inspired. Devoted to television, it is richly sourced, eloquently written, and nicely illustrated.
Journal of American History
This book is best seen as an update of Erik Barnouw's widely read and concise history, Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television. Moving beyond Barnouw, Edgerton has attempted to craft a unified narrative that simultaneously engages some of the more fine-grained scholarship in the field . . . A highly readable account of the development of a complex industry and cultural form.
The Midwest Book Review
A seminal work of meticulous scholarship . . . Welcome and highly recommended.
An extensive, readable . . . informative, well-written study . . . Recommended.