Why we can't resist listening in on our neighbours Eavesdropping has a bad name. It is a form of human communication in which the information gained is stolen, and where such words as cheating and spying come into play. But eavesdropping may also be an attempt to understand what goes on in the lives of others so as to know better how to live one's own. John Locke's entertaining and disturbing account explores everything from sixteenth-century voyeurism to Hitchcock's 'Rear Window'; from chimpanzee behaviour to Parisian cafe society; from private eyes to Facebook and Twitter. He uncovers the biological drive behind the behaviour, and its consequences across history and cultures. In the age of CCTV, phone tapping, and computer hacking, this is uncomfortably important reading.
John L. Locke is Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, Lehman College, City University of New York. His books include Phonological Acquisition and Change (Academic Press 1983), with Michael D. Smith, The Emergent Lexicon: The Child's Development of a Linguistic Vocabulary (Academic Press, 1988), and The Child's Path to Spoken Language (Harvard University Press, 1993).