A tour of the multiple usages and systems that each historic period puts forth in the name of communication. This genealogy maps the many means by which humans interact - from cataloguing others, to asserting power over them, to working together with them to build new forms of community. Included are topics such as the elaboration of warfare as a logistic; the rise of professional societies of propaganda and national propagation; the history of universal expositions and world fairs; the birth of documentary and film out of physiological investigations in the 19th century; the development of press and the popular novel; and the origins of American social science. The history runs from the circuits of exchange to the circulation of goods, people and messages, from the construction of railroads to the emergence of long-distance communication. The author brings a clarifying perspective to the ideologies and theories that accompany these transformations.