The Radio Boys and Girls: Radio, Telegraph, Telephone and Wireless Adventures for Juvenile Readers, 1890-1945, by Mike Adams, published by McFarland. Order from McFarland | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Radio Boys on KCBS | and on KWMR
Series fiction about wireless and radio was a popular genre of young adult literature at the turn of the 20th century and an early form of social media. Before television and the Internet, books about plucky youths braving danger and adventure with the help of wireless communication brought young people together. They gathered in basements to build crystal sets. They built transmitters and talked to each other across neighborhoods, cities and states. By 1920, there was music on the air and boys and girls tuned in on homemade radios, often inspired by their favorite stories.
This book analyzes more than 50 volumes of wireless and radio themed fiction, offering a unique perspective on the world presented to young readers of the day. The values, attitudes, culture and technology of a century ago are discussed, many of them still debated today, including immigration, gun violence and guns on campus, race, bullying and economic inequality.