“Jean-Antoine Nollet, the Abbot of the Grand Convent of the Carthusians in Paris decided to test his theory that electricity traveled far and fast. He did the natural thing on a fine spring day in 1746, sending 200 of his monks out in a line 1 mile long. Between each pair of monks was a 25-foot iron wire. Once the reverend fathers were properly aligned, Nollet hooked up a battery to the end of the line and noted with satisfaction that all the monks started swearing, contorting, or otherwise reacting simultaneously to the shock… This story of the early days of electrical experimentation leads off The Victorian Internet, a fascinating story of the telegraph by Tom Standage, a journalist who writes for The Economist. Thankfully, Standage makes the point that the telegraph was the Internet of its age, but then lets the metaphor drop and tells the story of the spread of the telegraph on it’s own terms.”