Television: A Biography

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$34.95  $32.50
Thames & Hudson
Publish Date
7.4 X 1.6 X 10.1 inches | 2.9 pounds

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About the Author
David Thomson is the author of, among other books, ""The Biographical Dictionary of Film"" and ""Rosebud"", a biography of Orson Wells.
The eminent film writer offers a personal celebration of his particular fascinations and a provocative consideration of the ways in which the very mechanics of the medium affect the audience, both as individuals and as a mass culture. Thomson's insights are typically unsparing and acute, and while many of the implications of his argument are troubling, his love and admiration for the best of TV are palpable. A bracing, essential engagement with the ramifications of our lives before the small screen.
The greatest writer about the big screen has now written a defining book about the small screen.--Geoff Dyer
Funny, sarcastic and illuminating.
One of the great books about television extant. [Thomson] is able to think about the medium provocatively, profoundly and originally. Whether you think of it as a David Thomson book or a book about television is of no matter. Either way, it is a book worth waiting decades for.
A large, lavishly illustrated, erudite, and richly analytical look at television and its influence. Thomson closely examines the medium's cultural impact by taking a largely thematic approach to revealing just how pervasive it has become in our lives.
Thomson has written an enthralling and very necessary book about the complex medium of television [which he] considers almost as a life form. [He] loosely divides his book into McLuhan-esque halves, 'The Medium' and 'The Message, ' [but] isn't doctrinaire about his construct, and we're the better for it as he chats away, making thought-provoking and always entertaining observations about television's explosive growth. Thomson has trained his singular vision on the dominant medium of our lives, our constant -- if not always welcome -- companion, tightening its hold on our culture and our minds with a proliferation of portable screens. What readers will take away [is that] you cannot love television and understand its preeminent role in contemporary life without contrary feelings of resentment, disappointment and even outright hatred.
The film critic brings his idiosyncratic, essayistic approach to this volume about the small screen. Don't expect a formal history; Thomson instead bobs and weaves his way through shows and themes, from "The Donna Reed Show" and "I Love Lucy" to "Friends" ("as flimsy and essential as tissue paper") and "Breaking Bad" ("like a novel by a master storyteller").
A splendid, panoramic, multi-faceted examination of the medium and its messages, spread out from its humble beginnings to its contemporary spot in the 21st century's busy crossroads of high-tech pop culture.
Film critic Thomson turns away from his usual medium of choice, the big screen, and tackles the history of the 'elephant' in our living rooms. This is not an appraisal of hit TV shows and their players, but rather a sharp analysis of its impact on collective consciousness. Thomson provides valuable insight in [this] readable examination of this pervasive medium over the past 60 years.
Always insightful but never condescending... [A] magisterial survey of English-language television and its impact on both sides of the Atlantic. Whether Thomson is considering black-and-white or multi-colored programs, from today and past decades, embarrassments as well as the best and the brightest, he brings everything he writes about to life with an immediacy and quite outstanding vividness.
Deeply insightful, gracefully written, totally compelling... Plow through this 416-page anthropological monster and you will know all you need to know about the evolution of TV over the last 70 years and--more important--how and why it has assumed such a central position in our lives. Thomson's pricy book is worth it because he thinks differently and has written the real thing when it comes to understanding the 500-pound gator in the room.
Unlike almost all critics, David Thomson is unafraid to see, to read, to experience or re-experience the story television tells as true history--not a reflection, but a version of what really happened in the world at large, and what may.--Greil Marcus
A panoramic history of television that's full of thoughtfulness, gusto and intelligence. It's also extremely entertaining. At the moment when screens are finally everywhere, David Thomson is out to decide how we salvage excellence from ubiquity.--David Hare
Only a mind as resourceful and clever as David Thomson's would have the courage to try to put his arms around the whole "vast wasteland" of our beloved, hated television and make some idiosyncratic sense of it.--Ken Burns