This is a truly wonderful book, invaluable for anyone who wants to understand the contemporary study of media and communication. At one level it is a survey of the key concepts that shape the field: concepts such as message, ideology, public, interaction, culture. At another level it is a survey of the key writers (and their canonical texts) from whom these concepts are drawn: figures such as Adorno, Benjamin, Habermas, McLuhan, Williams, Hoggart and Hall. But the book is so much more than this. It is an intellectual-social history of the concepts as they emerged in particular texts written by people struggling to make sense of media and communication in their particular human and historical circumstances. So we meet (among others): Walter Benjamin writing about the emancipatory potential of technologies of mass cultural production as fascism seizes power in Europe; Raymond Williams writing Culture and Society while teaching in the Workers Education Association in post-war Britain and firmly rejecting elitist notions of `the masses'; Stuart Hall importing Marx, Gramsci and notions of ideology into the study of culture as students revolted. All of this gives the book a narrative excitement and drive in which we recover a sense of why thinkers took the turn they did in response to what kinds of pressures. It is also, however, both an argument about the emerging shape of the field and an assessment of it. If Culture and Society was a founding text for cultural and media studies, this book - Media and Communication - takes stock half a century later. Culture and Society inaugurated the field of cultural studies at a time when political concerns were moving from the problems of scarcity to questions of (relative) plenty and when theoretical concerns moved from mass society to everyday life. Media and Communication situates itself now at `an in-between time'. Through the prism of its history we can see more clearly why we were studying the media and in the name of what. Just now it may be harder to settle these questions for the present time. But Media and Communication is the perfect place to start. It is beautifully written with the energy of youth and the wisdom of experience and it restores some great thinkers and some complex moments to us with some humour and with great generosity of spirit.