From Gutenberg to Early Bird: a traditional history of the major inventions in communications, with bits of biography, a laugh or two, and an unmistakably British origin. Most of the ""ideas"" had practical applications--the Morse code; the postage stamp, Braille's alphabet for the blind, the telephone, Reuter's news service, radio, television. Each chapter presents the mechanics in fairly simple terms, accompanied by a few anecdotes relaying the personality of the man. Only the technological innovations are included, however--there is nothing referring to the hidden persuaders or the tentacles of the mass media. Nor is there any attempt to assess the impact of these instruments on modern life, except for the rather obvious speed-up of communications. This is no competition for Chase's recent idea-oriented Danger--Men Talking (p. 1012, J-384), but it can serve as a routine background volume.