SOUNDS IN THE AIR by Norman H. Finkelstein

SOUNDS IN THE AIR

The Golden Age of Radio
Age Range: 11 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A cogent, admirably detailed survey of American radio in its heyday. After a brief explanation of the technology that led to its sudden growth and popularity in the 20's, the author explains how radio gradually supplanted vaudeville, with many of its performers making a successful transition, then takes a close look at comedy shows (Jack Benny gets a whole chapter), shows for children, and soaps. How radio changed society is a constant theme--as TV did later, the radio became a family center. But its early civility succumbed to various forces: ladylike storytellers were replaced by dramatizations; cultural events, at first uninterrupted, were invaded by commercials. Advertising's evolution and its influence on programming are discussed, as is the effect of the advent of radio news on politics and on newspaper economics. Edward R. Murrow's innovative coverage of WW II is depicted as radio's finest hour; a last chapter draws instructive parallels between the rise of radio and the postwar rise of TV. The author is generous with quotes; they're so good that they leave the reader hungry for more. Lucid, thorough, and fascinating: excellent social history. B&w photos; bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 11+)

Pub Date: April 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-684-19271-3
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993




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