978-0-07-135895-8 / 9780071358958

Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer, Collector's Edition


Publisher:McGraw-Hill Companies



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About the book:

This is not a computer book but rather a fascinating history of the personal computer. Even if the computer isn't your thing, and you don't remember arguing with Commodore 64, Apple II, and TRS-80 owners over whose computer was the best, you'll find the writing engaging and the subject matter more than entertaining. Who would have thought a bunch of misfit nerds could make history?

Fire in the Valley is an accurate, insightful, and often entertaining look at the many accidents and mistakes that eventually led to the computer you have on your desktop today. The history of the personal computer comprises a series of well-planned errors, with eccentric personalities floating from company to company, and geniuses so twisted they created for the sheer joy of it--never imagining the multibillion dollar industry that would result.

This book is magnetic. I started reading some of the Microsoft and Apple stories first, because I figured I would be more connected to the names Gates and Jobs than some of the earlier (and now retired) rabble-rousers. But the consistent and strong writing drew me in, and I found myself reading the entire thing. The entire story of the personal computer, from the vacuum tube to the iMac, is told and told well.

Fire in the Valley was originally published back in 1984. This copy is the "collector's edition," and updated to reflect contemporary issues. The book is hardbound, hence the hefty cover price. (It also has a CD-ROM.) I highly recommend it--especially for anyone who's into high tech and wants to understand the value of not putting creativity into a bottle. --Dan Gookin

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