A commendable exploration of the technology and ideas supporting our wireless world.

An Illustrated Guide to Mobile Technology

A comprehensive history of mobile technology.

It’s easy to take mobile technology for granted given how seamlessly it is woven into modern life. As first-time author Date explains, wireless communication has gone from “ubiquity to invisibility.” In this timely book, Date pulls back the curtain on the history of mobile innovation and lays bare its complex evolution. While the book is thematically centered on the hand-held communicative device, the investigation is historically far-reaching, beginning in the 19th century with considerably cruder gadgets that presaged the wireless world. Date walks the reader through these earlier, more primitive iterations—Alexander Graham Bell’s photophone, radio, and the whole cosmos of “hub-and-spoke networks”—until he finally gets to the iPhone, “the logical culmination of over 200 years of discovery and innovation in mobile telephony.” The wide-ranging study covers not only the technology, but its commercial applications, so readers will learn a lot about the way wireless technology has situated itself in various industries, including health care, finance, and the military. Readers also encounter surprisingly actionable information regarding what makes an app successful as well as an extended discussion of “Time Division Duplexing,” which “gets both parties in a conversation to send and receive on the same carrier frequency channel.” Given the book’s forays into technical aspects, its prose is remarkably clear. Along the way, the book is spangled with photographs of innovators and old-school technology—some of it comically clunky—as well as accessible graphics that help explain complex technical concepts. The investigation also explores the very nature of innovation itself and its part in “the desire of human beings to freely communicate over long distances without being tethered to wires and cables.” In fact, one wishes the author invested a bit more in this subject and the more expansive societal implications of this new technology. Still, this effort remains an impressively panoramic account and a thoughtful one at that.

A commendable exploration of the technology and ideas supporting our wireless world.

Pub Date: March 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5084-9612-0

Page Count: 364

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science...


Bryson (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999, etc.), a man who knows how to track down an explanation and make it confess, asks the hard questions of science—e.g., how did things get to be the way they are?—and, when possible, provides answers.

As he once went about making English intelligible, Bryson now attempts the same with the great moments of science, both the ideas themselves and their genesis, to resounding success. Piqued by his own ignorance on these matters, he’s egged on even more so by the people who’ve figured out—or think they’ve figured out—such things as what is in the center of the Earth. So he goes exploring, in the library and in company with scientists at work today, to get a grip on a range of topics from subatomic particles to cosmology. The aim is to deliver reports on these subjects in terms anyone can understand, and for the most part, it works. The most difficult is the nonintuitive material—time as part of space, say, or proteins inventing themselves spontaneously, without direction—and the quantum leaps unusual minds have made: as J.B.S. Haldane once put it, “The universe is not only queerer than we suppose; it is queerer than we can suppose.” Mostly, though, Bryson renders clear the evolution of continental drift, atomic structure, singularity, the extinction of the dinosaur, and a mighty host of other subjects in self-contained chapters that can be taken at a bite, rather than read wholesale. He delivers the human-interest angle on the scientists, and he keeps the reader laughing and willing to forge ahead, even over their heads: the human body, for instance, harboring enough energy “to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point.”

Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective.

Pub Date: May 6, 2003

ISBN: 0-7679-0817-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

Did you like this book?