Philip Marchand
Books & Reviews
Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger
Random House of Canada (Toronto)
Ticknor & Fields (Boston)

The definitive biography of the great communications guru of the 60s and the 70s. The book treats with equal lucidity and liveliness the idiosyncratic personal life and the idiosyncratic thought of McLuhan.

A revised edition with a new foreword by Neil Postman was published in 1998, by Vintage Canada (Toronto) and the MIT Press (Cambridge).

Foreign editions include the 1998 German edition published by DVA, translated by Martin Baltes, Fritz Böhler, Rainer Höltschl and Jürgen Reuß, and the 2003 Chinese edition published by China Renmin University Press.


Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (1990 British Columbia Book Prizes)
Floyd S. Chalmers Award in Ontario History, 1989.


"Delightfully readable and thorough biography."
Pico Iyer, The New York Review of Books, May 26, 2011.

"The best - I might almost say the only good - precis of McLuhan's thought that I have ever read."
Thomas Cahill, Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1989.

"Long overdue. A masterful view of the most significant viewer of mass media in our time. Marchand looks inside McLuhan with the same unblinking eyes McLuhan used to look inside TV."
Abbie Hoffman

"Intensely absorbing.Marchand has done an intelligent job of balancing the various McLuhans, the country hick and the cosmopolitan, the rebel against his mother and the visionary."
New York Times, March 20, 1989

"As one who was intimate with Marshall during several crucial years, I applaud the accuracy, the tone and feel, of Philip Marchand's achievement."
Hugh Kenner, author of The Pound Era and Dublin's Joyce

"However outrageous and irresponsible McLuhan's pronouncements might at first have seemed, the fact is we now live in a McLuhanesque world.After reading this book, you can't say McLuhan didn't warn us."
George Leonard, author of Education and Ecstasy

"Beautifully written … brings instant recognition of that weird, exhilarating vortex of ideas that McLuhan meant to us."
Globe & Mail, April 22, 1989

"An altogether splendid job.Thanks to Philip Marchand's biography, McLuhan, the man, is back."
Toronto Star, April 15, 1989

"A definitive work full of startling revelations, a book that is likely to influence the academic world's opinion of McLuhan for years to come."
Ray Mungo, San Francisco Chronicle, May 14, 1989.

"Philip Marchand's tracing of (McLuhan's) life is a triumph."
Michael Enright, Ottawa Citizen, May 13, 1989.

"It's a fascinating tale that is told in this book. Marchand goes the distance."
Marty Gervais, Windsor Star, April 22, 1989

"Lively, yet judicious biography"
National Review, June 30, 1989

An "ambitiously researched and spryly written biography...Among Marchand's many skills as a biographer is his ability to explain, with just the right mix of empathy and detachment, why the McLuhan on the way up faced an inevitable appointment with the McLuhan on the way down."
Carlin Romano, Washington Post, April 30, 1989

"A skilled and compelling biography."
Montreal Gazette, April 8, 1989

"As a lifelong reader of McLuhan and an admirer of Mr. Marchand for nearly two decades, I expected to enjoy this biography. But it turns out to be even better than I hoped, a graceful and eloquent discussion of everything from McLuhan's intellectual roots (in F.R. Leavis and Lewis Mumford as well as Harold Innis and James Joyce) to his most preposterous scheme (he wanted to write, with Tom Wolfe, a Broadway musical in which the characters would be the various media - sort of like A Chorus Line)...In its range and confidence, his book is McLuhanesque."
Robert Fulford

"No one is ever likely to tell the McLuhan story better."
Trevor Lautens, Content, July/August 1989

"A beautifully researched and sensitively interpreted work … [Marchand's] book is its own superb medium and message."
Walter J. Ong, author of Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue, In the Human Grain and Interfaces of the Word

"A terrific biography."
Douglas Coupland, Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!

"A superb biography"
Walrus, July/August 2011

"Film and television documentaries...proliferated, as did biographies (the best of them being Philip Marchand's empathetic Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger and Edmund Carpenter's funny, fond memoir That Not-So-Silent Sea)"
Toronto Life, July 2011.


How to order Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger

Check out the MIT Press web site: Click here for the book's page.

Unfortunately the MIT Press edition is not for sale in Canada. If Canadian orders are placed on the MIT Press, they will not be shipped. Also, the Canadian edition is no longer available through the Canadian publishers or through bookstores. Canadians who wish to purchase the book may order through



Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger


Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger


Marshall McLuhan: Botschafter der Medien, Biographie


Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger - Chinese Translation


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