Book Reviews

Steve Ramm

Columnist, In the Groove/The Antique Phonograph Magazine

“A fascinating new book on early media. . . . A delightful read.”

Victoria Willis

Popular Music and Society”

“As a resource, the collection is very usable and particularly student-friendly. The introductions are insightful without being exhaustive, which encourages further inquiry and discussion by providing guidance and direction to sound studies, cultural studies, and technological studies. This approach creates a versatile collection that is not only useful for research and scholarship, but which is also strikingly teachable.”

Andy Battaglia

Wall Street Journal

“Measuring the cultural importance and metaphysical weirdness of that change is part of the project of Music, Sound, and Technology in America, an anthology of fascinating artifacts whose prosaic title belies its insights into the early years of the recorded-sound era. . . . [T]he editors of Music, Sound, and Technology in America exhibit a canny ear for the electrifying echoes between then and now.”

Emily Bick

The Wire

“Part history of technology, part reception studies, this anthology gathers advertisements, sales agents’ scripts, personal accounts, editorials and letters from hobbyist journals of the early days of recorded sound… At its best, the selections convey an eyewitness sense of first reactions to new technologies, before users’ expectations ossified… What shines through the book is how new technologies have opened up cultural battlegrounds for creativity, access and control.”

James M. Keller

Santa Fe New Mexican

“The editors have selected and assembled their material with perspicuity and wit, and anybody interested in the infancy of sound recording, cinema, and radio is guaranteed to experience frequent ‘aha!’ moments that transport them with a simple turn of phrase to the mind-set of an earlier age.”

N. Newman


Taylor, Katz, and Grajeda have culled print and visual materials from the popular press, trade journals, and company archives that neatly capture the excitement of the new enterprises of radio, sound recordings, and film and the quandaries surrounding these media. . . . Highly Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.”

Rob Haskins

ARSC Journal

“Although the book is aimed at scholars and students (the book would work admirably as a reader for any number of courses in music, media studies, or history), Music, Sound, and Technology in America will appeal to nearly anyone who has an interest in exploring further the fascinating early history of phonography, cinema, and radio from the perspective of its founders, critics, and consumers. Truly a landmark documentary in every way, this collection should go a long way in stimulating further historical work in the field.”

European Journal of Communication

“This is a much-needed anthology…. We owe the three editors a considerable debt for doing the necessary research and for organizing and explaining the value of what they have unearthed.”

Michele Hilmes

Author – Radio Voices: American Broadcasting, 1922–1952

“Music, Sound, and Technology in America provides a useful overview of the impact of technologies on American music and musical culture. It is a valuable resource, an engaging, well-organized anthology that will raise provocative questions for students of American cultural history.”

Jonathan Sterne

Author – MP3: The Meaning of a Format

“Filled with great selections, Music, Sound, and Technology in America is a salutary addition to a media studies literature lacking in such sourcebooks. It provides a ready-made trove of primary source material to use in classroom discussions of historical interpretation and methodology. In addition, by juxtaposing materials on diverse aspects of sound, the editors avoid the persistent habit of segmenting sound studies by medium or mode.”