Book Review Assignment

For the review, you should select one of the following two books:

Jeff Jarvis, What Would Google Do? (New York: HarperCollins, 2009)

Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012)

Your assignment will be to consider your selected book as history for a review of approximately 800-1,000 words.

Each book responds to a new technology (the Internet) and a new media company (Google) and the role of both in contemporary society. In so doing, each author both continues a tradition of cultural critics responding to new technologies and forms of media, and presents his own narrative of the history of media and communications in the United States. In your review, you should consider both of these key issues through the following questions:

    1. What are the major themes and arguments of the author’s account of media history? How does he portray major changes in media and communications? What does he emphasize to frame his discussion of Google and the internet? In this part, you should consider how the  author compares to other historians of media and communications we have considered in here course. You may wish to compare the author’s position to that of Starr, which is encouraged but not required.
    2. Where along a spectrum of cultural criticism of new media technology would you place the author? In this section, you should compare your selected  author to other critics we have read, including Comstock, Forman, and McLuhan, as well as moments of debate such as that over the novel in the early Republic.

Please be sure to write your essay as a unified, single response rather than two numbered responses.


  • Responses should be submitted via by 8:30am on Wednesday, December 7. (I will distribute the password in class.)
  • You may use any other course materials for this assignment, but you should not do any outside research.
  • All citations should be in Chicago format. The word count of 800-1,000 does not include your citations.
  • Late papers will be docked 5% per day, beginning at 8:30 on the due date. No papers will be accepted after Wednesday, December 14 at 8:30am.

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