Radio Man: the remarkable rise and fall of C.O. Stanley

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  • Author:

  • Year: 2002

  • Format: Hardback

  • Product Code: PBHT0300

  • ISBN: 978-0-85296-203-9

  • Pagination: 376pp.

  • Stock Status: In stock

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Description:  'Radio Man' tells the story of C.O. Stanley, the unconventional Irishman who acquired Pye Radio at the beginning of the broadcasting age.  Though he started with little experience and even less money, he was to make Pye a major player in the British electronics industry - only to crash it spectacularly forty years later.

From the romance of early radio to the birth of the mobile, Stanley and Pye were players in some of the key moments of 20th century Britain.  His obsession with the infant medium of television allowed Pye to provide the equipment that put radar into planes in time for the Battle of Britain.  His energy also drove Pye's pioneering work on the proximity fuse - work that would revolutionise anti-aircraft warfare - and the company's manufacture of the war's most successful army radios.

In the 1950s Stanley led the offensive against the BBC's monopoly of television in a battle that split the British establishment.  When his son, John, took Pye into mobile radio Stanley fought and defeated the bureaucrats who then controlled Britain's airwaves.

Stanley's loss of Pye in 1966 illustrated British industry's inability to withstand foreign competition.  It also brought tragedy.  Stanley himself escaped with honour more or less intact, but left his son to face public humiliation on his own. This revealing and meticulously researched text is written within the broad context of the political, technological and business changes of the time, and shows how a very ambitious businessman was brought down by the qualities that made him so successful.

Book review

"hard to put down....The author has done an excellent job of research on the subject....The history of Stanley and Pye may not be familiar to many of us, so I urge you to read this book - you won't be disappointed." Alan Smith-Gode, HRSA RADIOWAVES, January 2003

"Any Practical Wireless reader, even with the slightest interest in the history of radio and broadcast technology, Second World War communications, radar and television should read Radio Man...I could not put the book's a superb radio-based real life drama!" Practical Wireless, 12 September 2002

"the reader....gains a detailed insight into one of the most significant industrial empires of the 20th Century and of C.O. Stanley who made it all happen - a fascinating glimpse of a truly wonderful man." Dr. David Ellis, Measurement+Control, Vol.36, No.3, April 2003.

"...a fascinating story about the transience of commercial and personal success, the complexity of the factors that produce it, and the difficulty of sustaining it in changing circumstances." Jock Given, Prometheus, Vol.22, No.3, September 2004.

Book readership

Historians of science, technology and broadcasting;


Reference, professional, general interest

Book contents

Prologue: The Execution, 1. An Irish Family, 2. Birth of a Salesman, 3. Radio Man, 4. CO Goes to War, 5. The Fighting Factory, 6. Boom and Bureacrats, 7. Liberating Television, 8. West Briton, 9.  Danger Years, 10. The Palace Revolution, 11. Son and Father, Acknowledgements & Sources

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