Forged in War: How a Century of War Created Today’s Information Society

Rowman & Littlefield. May 2021. 280p. ISBN 9781538148952. $36. HIST
With this latest book, Lankes (Carolina’s Sch. of Library and Information Science, Univ. of South Carolina; The Atlas of New Librarianship) tells the history of several high-level technologies that are popular in the 21st century. He writes that data and media were supposed to bring communities together, yet they have often does the opposite. In this wide-ranging account, the author reexamines the histories of mobile phones, the internet, data (and its collection), web standards such as HTML, and more. He sheds light on the downsides of the information world we live in now, such as data monetization, attacks on privacy, and erosion of widespread public trust in information sources. In a manner similar to previous works on the subject, Lankes clearly argues that technology, data, and information sharing have human bias and are not objective. After detailing the rise of misinformation and disinformation, as well as the history of public libraries in the 20th century, Lankes concludes his multifaceted, intelligent work with the comment that his book is itself a context-based effort.
VERDICT This most recent book by Lankes is ideal for readers seeking a more comprehensive look at information dissemination technology, its context, and its impact on the way in which we now live.
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