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Books

The following books and other reference material are highly recommended for additional information on the Bell System and related telecommunications topics.

 

Theses books are available from Amazon.com, Inc.

 

  • Ma Bell's Boys by Charles Covad. ArchwayPublishing, Copyright 2014.   ISBN-10: 9781480807280.  It is 1960 when Chris goes to work for Western Electric Company in the Bay Area of Northern California. Happy to be employed by a prosperous company, Chris's hard work pays off several years later when he is offered a coveted position in teletype repair. Chris jumps at the chance that comes with only one drawback: he must work next to Manny Mokey, a disheveled, eccentric employee. As Chris acclimates to his new position, he observes Manny, listens to his tall tales, and soon realizes Manny will do anything to spur the envy of those around him. As Manny shares his dream of one day becoming a financial tycoon, Chris fuels his delusions of grandeur by selling him silver coins. But as the threat of a Bell System breakup looms, Chris turns from con artist to full-fledged thief after he pockets one of Manny's treasured coins. It is only after Chris is transferred to Pacific Bell that he meets a crook bigger than himself and must do whatever it takes to stop him before Chris himself is implicated. Now, all he has to do is prove that it takes a thief to catch a thief. Ma Bell's Boys shares a glimpse inside the walls of a telephone business as a young employee attempts to work his way up the ladder of success while battling greed, deception, and his own temptations.

   

 

  • End of the Line - The Rise and Fall of AT&T by Leslie Cauley. Free Press, Copyright 2005.   ISBN-10: 0743250257.  The author, Leslie Cauley, is a veteran telecom journalist having worked for the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

 

  • Just Another Day in Paradise, A History of Kwajalein, Marshall Islands by Bill Remick. Bill Remick Publishing, Copyright 2015. ISBN-10: 9780692379103.
    This book describes in great detail the phenomenon of one of the most interesting islands in the world: Kwajalein. The 92 small islands on the reef that fringes the lagoon lie only a few feet above sea level at high tide. It is the world's largest  atoll and was the first Japanese territory wrested from Japan in World War II. For the last 50-plus years the landscape has  been dominated by state-of-the-art radar suites used to track missiles and shoot them down. There have been many books ad articles written about the capture of Kwajalein and many more about the radar and missile testing that Bell Labs pioneered that has gone on there since the early 1960s. What has been lacking is a thorough presentation of the living conditions on the island. These include the airport, harbor, barracks, quarters, schools, newspapers, recreation. These and other subjects are dealt with in detail in text and photos in this well-appointed book. Over 750 black & white photos are included in the 298 pages of the book. Many are from private collections and have not been seen by the public before. Also included are over 50 maps, charts and other illustrations.

 

 

 

 

  • The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gernter. Penguin Press, Copyright 2012.   ISBN-10: 1594203288. 

    A sweeping, atmospheric history of Bell Labs that highlights its unparalleled role as an incubator of innovation and birthplace of the century's most influential technologies.

    Bell Laboratories, which thrived from the 1920s to the 1980s, was the most innovative and productive institution of the twentieth century. Long before America's brightest scientific minds began migrating west to Silicon Valley, they flocked to this sylvan campus in the New Jersey suburbs built and funded by AT&T. At its peak, Bell Labs employed nearly fifteen thousand people, twelve hundred of whom had PhDs. Thirteen would go on to win Nobel prizes. It was a citadel of science and scholarship as well as a hotbed of creative thinking. It was, in effect, a factory of ideas whose workings have remained largely hidden until now.

     

    New York Times Magazine writer Jon Gertner unveils the unique magic of Bell Labs through the eyes and actions of its scientists. These ingenious, often eccentric men would become revolutionaries, and sometimes legends, whether for inventing radio astronomy in their spare time (and on the company's dime), riding unicycles through the corridors, or pioneering the principles that propel today's technology. In these pages, we learn how radar came to be, and lasers, transistors, satellites, mobile phones, and much more.

     

    Even more important, Gertner reveals the forces that set off this explosion of creativity. Bell Labs combined the best aspects of the academic and corporate worlds, hiring the brightest and usually the youngest minds, creating a culture and even an architecture that forced employees in different fields to work together, in virtually complete intellectual freedom, with little pressure to create moneymaking innovations. In Gertner's portrait, we come to understand why both researchers and business leaders look to Bell Labs as a model and long to incorporate its magic into their own work.

     

    Written with a novelist's gift for pacing and an ability to convey the thrill of innovation, The Idea Factory yields a revelatory take on the business of invention. What are the principles of innovation? How do new technology and new ideas begin? Are some environments more favorable than others? How should they be structured, and how should they be governed? Can strokes of genius be accelerated, replicated, standardized? The history of Bell Labs provides crucial answers that can and should be applied today by anyone who wants to understand where good ideas come from.


 

  • Just An Old Telephone Man - 2nd Edition [Kindle Edition] by Judge Pattengill. WrightWay; 2nd edition (April 30, 2009).  ISBN: 978-1-4276-4113-7.  A collection of stories from a few "just old telephone men and women". This 2nd Edition includes the stories of the 1st plus many more. If you are or were ever a telephone man or woman, they should bring a chuckle or a smile. If you were not, they may make you wish you had been!

 

  • Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design by Jennifer Bass & Pat Kirkham. Free Press, Copyright 2011.   ISBN-10: 1856697525.  Jennifer Bass is a graphic designer and artist. She has worked at CBS Television in New York and at Sussman/Prejza & Company in Los Angeles. In 1994, she and her husband, Lance Glover, opened their studio, Treehouse Design Partnership in Los Angeles, working in the areas of environmental graphics, identity and book design.

    Pat Kirkham is Professor in the History of Design, Decorative Arts and Culture at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture, New York. She has written and edited a number of books, including Charles and Ray Eames (1998) and Women Designers in the USA 1900-2000 (2001).

This is the first book to be published on one of the greatest American designers of the 20th Century, who was as famous for his work in film as for his corporate identity and graphic work. With more than 1,400 illustrations, many of them never published before and written by the leading design historian Pat Kirkham, this is the definitive study that design and film enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating. Saul Bass (1920-1996) created some of the most compelling images of American post-war visual culture. Having extended the remit of graphic design to include film titles, he went on to transform the genre. His best known works include a series of unforgettable posters and title sequences for films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and Otto Preminger's The Man With The Golden Arm and Anatomy of a Murder. He also created some of the most famous logos and corporate identity campaigns of the century, including those for major companies such as AT&T, Quaker Oats, United Airlines and Minolta. His wife and collaborator, Elaine, joined the Bass office in the late 1950s. Together they created an impressive series of award-winning short films, including the Oscar-winning Why Man Creates, as well as an equally impressive series of film titles, ranging from Stanley Kubrick s Spartacus in the early 1960s to Martin Scorsese s Cape Fear and Casino in the 1990s. Designed by Jennifer Bass, Saul Bass's daughter and written by distinguished design historian Pat Kirkham who knew Saul Bass personally, this book is full of images from the Bass archive, providing an in depth account of one of the leading graphic artists of the 20th century.

 

 

  • Bell Labs Memoirs: Voices of Innovation -- A Michael Noll (Author), Michael Geselowitz (Author). CreateSpcae, Copyright 2011.   ISBN-10: 1463677979.  In structure and history, Bell Labs was unique in the world. Its discoveries and inventions (advances on its earlier invention of the transistor, the laser, UNIX, the charge-coupled device) transformed global society and helped to form the information age and the digital era. The collection of narratives in this book focuses on Bell Labs’ peak years during the 1960s and 1970s. Whether by accident or providence, these years correspond almost exactly with the years when William Baker led the Labs (1955 – 1973). The chapters are mini-memoirs, ranging from personal background to research accounts to stories of social life at the Labs, as told by persons from every aspect of the Lab’s research operations, from chauffeurs and technicians to top scientists. Bill Baker’s presence runs through all the narratives, leading the organization and defining its tone. His personal aptitude and leadership left an indelible stamp on Bell Labs and, indeed, on global science and technology.

 

  • Rape of Ma Bell by Constantine Raymonod Kraus and Alfred W. Duerig. Lyle Stuart, Copyright 1988.   ISBN-10: 081840468X. (Link leads to book reviews)

 

 

  • TELE-Tales - A SURVEY OF SERVICE by A.J. Ryan, Copyright 2006.
    ISBN-10: 1412014522. (paperback). True tales of situations met and often endured while living a wandering life, the story describes the career of a Bell Canada employee through promising beginnings to humiliation, defeat and revival after his shock is mistakenly understood as his standing in the way of a plan to cover up a tragic act of negligence.

     

  • AT&T Divestiture Timeline - Web page on this site with key dates leading up to divestiture and beyond.
     

  • Long Lines - The Bell System Unit For Nationwide
    and Worldwide Communications
    - Published in 1969
     

  • The Phone Book - What the telephone company would rather you not know by J. Edward Hyde. Henry Regnery Company - Chicago. Copyright 1976. Gives a dark view of Ma Bell but interesting reading nonetheless. ISBN-10: 0809280086. (hardcover).

     

  • "Manufacturing the Future - A History of Western Electric" by Stephen B. Adams and Orville R. Butler. Excellent book!  Published in 1999 by Cambridge University Press. ISBN-10: 0521651182. (hardcover).


     

  • "Telephone - The First Hundred Years" - The Wondrous Invention that Changed a World and Spawned a Corporate Giant. By John Brooks. First Published in 1976 by Harper & Row, Publishers. ISBN-10: 0060105402. (hardcover).

     

  • "Bell Labs - Life in the Crown Jewel" by Narain Gehani. First published in 2003 by Silicon Press. ISBN-10: 0929306279. (hardcover).

"Bell Labs, the greatest research lab of the 20th century, is going through difficult times. The current events at Lucent will have a deep impact on Bell Labs. Gehani talks about Bell Labs with an insider's perspective. He has seen Bell Labs during its best times and during its difficult days. He was at Bell Labs during the monopoly and post monopoly days, and when Lucent was doing great and during its difficult times.

 

Gehani’s Bell Labs book is the first book that tells the story of this very famous organization. Bell Labs is part of the heritage of the many of the current and past companies in the telecom industry. People associated with the telephone companies will find this book great reading, historical information of their employer’s glorious past, will get an understanding of the workings of this great institution, how the AT&T divestiture affected it, and the challenges faced by it now.

 

Gehani's story of America's national treasure and corporate crown jewel will keep you riveted to reading about a way of life possibly gone forever. To read the book description, click HERE.

  • Technologies of Freedom
    Ithiel de Sola Pool, 1983
    Cambridge: Belknap/Harvard
    . ISBN-10: 0674872339. (paperback).

     

  • The Deal of the Century: The Breakup of AT&T
    Steve Coll, 1986
    New York: Atheneum.
    ASIN: B00165FWH4 (paperback).

     

  • Signals: The Telephone and Beyond (Revised edition)
    John R. Pierce and Michael A. Noll
    San Francisco: Freeman.
    ISBN-10: 0716713365 (paperback).

     

  • America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940
    Claude S. Fischer, 1992
    Berkeley: University of California Press.
    ISBN-10: 0520086473 (paperback).

     

  • The Telecommunications Revolution: Past, Present and Future
    Sapolsky, Crane, Neuman, and Noam, 1992
    London & New York: Routledge.
    ISBN-10: 0415067715 (paperback).

     

  • The American Telegrapher: A Social History, 1860 - 1900
    Edwin Gabler, 1988
    New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
    ISBN-10: 0813512859 (paperback).

     

  • The Biggest Company On Earth: A Profile of AT&T
    Sonny Kleinfield, 1981
    New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
    ISBN-10: 0030453267 (hardcover).

     

  • I'm Sorry, The Monopoly You Have Reached Is Not In Service...
    K. Aubrey Stone, 1973
    New York: Ballantine/Grassroots.
    ISBN-10: 0345030753 (paperback).

     

  • Monopoly
    Joseph C. Goulden, 1968
    New York: Putnam.
    ISBN-10: 0671771957 (paperback).

     

  • In One Man's Life: Being Chapters from the Personal and Business Career of Theodore N. Vail
    Albert B. Paine, 1921
    New York: Harper.
    ISBN-10: 1112191011 (paperback).

     

  • Disconnecting Bell: The Impact of the AT&T Divestiture
    Harry M. Shooshan II (Editor), 1984
    Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press.
    ISBN-10: 0080301738 (hardcover).

     

  • The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier
    Bruce Sterling, 1992
    New York: Bantam.
    ISBN-10: 055356370X (paperback).

     

  • The First Amendment in the Information Age
    Joel M. Bolstein, 1987
    Washington, D.C.: Freedom of Expression Foundation & The Media Institute.
    ISBN-10: 0937790362 (paperback).

     

  • The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier
    Howard Rheingold, 1993
    Menlo Park, CA: Addison Wesley.
    ISBN-10: 0262681218 (paperback).


     

  • American Tel. & Tel., The Story of a Great Monopoly
    by Horace Coon, Longmans, Green and Co., New York, 1939.

    ASIN: B002EG2G3W (hardcover).

     

  • The Telephone in a Changing World
    by Marion May Dilts, Longmans, Green and Co., New York, 1941.
    ASIN: B0007E2OI0 (unknown binding).

     

  • Communications in the World of the Future
    by Hal Hellman, M. Evans and Company, New York, 1969.
    ASIN: B004BIWQ3Q (paperback).

     

  • Alexander Graham Bell
    by Catherine MacKenzie, Houghton Mifflen Co., Boston and New York, 1928.
    ISBN-10: 0766143856 (paperback).

     

  • The Bell Telephone System
    by Arthur W. Page, Harper & Brothers, New York and London, 1929.
    ASIN: B0006APE0A (hardcover).


     

  • Beginnings of Telephony
    by F. L. Rhodes, Harper & Brothers, New York and London, 1929.
    ASIN: B000TZT2LE (hardcover).

     

  • Views on Public Questions
    by Theodore N. Vail, privately printed, 1917. ISBN-10: 1152102915 (paperback).

     

  • For Noteworthy Public Service, The Theodore N. Vail National Awards
    published by the Bell System, New York, 1950.
    ASIN: B000NSBHEM (hard cover).

     

  • Exploring Life, The Autobiography of Thomas A. Watson
    by D. Appleton and Company, New York and London, 1926.
    ASIN: B00270C67Q (paperback).

  • Muddling Through, A selective autobiography by John M. Fraser
    by CreateSpace, Pueblo, CO, 2009. 
    ISBN-10: 1438258496 (paperback).

 

TECHNICAL BOOKS

  • Telecommunications Primer
    G. Langley, 1983
    London: Pitman
    ISBN-10: 0273601571 (paperback).

     

  • Understanding Communications Systems
    Don L. Cannon and Gerald Luecke
    Dallas: Texas Instruments
    ISBN-10: 0672270161 (paperback).

  • A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System (in seven volumes):
    The Early Years (1875-1925)
    M. D. Fagen, Editor
    Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. 1975
    xii+1073 pages

    ASIN: B003X5CIEU (hardcover).


    National Service in War and Peace (1925-1975)
    M. D. Fagen, Editor
    Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. 1978
    xv+757 pages

    ISBN-10: 0932764002 (hardcover).


    Switching Technology (1925-1975)
    A. E. Joel, Jr. et al
    G.F. Schincler, Editor
    Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. 1982
    xii+639 pages

    ISBN-10: 0932764029 (hardcover).


    Physical Sciences (1925-1980)
    S. Millman, Editor
    Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. 1983
    xi+674 pages

    ISBN-10: 0932764037 (hardcover).


    Communications Sciences (1925-1980)
    S. Millman, Editor
    Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. 1984
    xxii+521 pages

    ISBN-10: 0932764061 (hardcover).


    Transmission Technology (1925-1975)
    E. F. O'Neill, Editor
    Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. 1985
    xv+812 pages

    ASIN: B000WW6U32 (hardcover).


    Electronics Technology (1925-1975)
    F. M. Smits, Editor
    Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. 1985
    xiv+370 pages

    ISBN-10: 093276407X (hardcover).

     

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