The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century 'S on-Line Pioneers
by Tom Standage
I just re-read this because my wife (finally!) picked this up and read it. It was a great book to read, both fitting in with the Holmes listening AND as an antidote to the somewhat-of-a-downer Edison book I just read.
The expectation that the telegraph would bring world peace reminded me of this quote from Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communications between different cultures and races, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.