• What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer
- John Markoff
While there have been several histories of the personal computer, well-known technology writer John Markoff has created the first ever to spotlight the unique political and cultural forces that gave rise to this revolutionary technology. Focusing on the period of 1962 through 1975 in the San Francisco Bay Area, where a readily available supply of psychedelics drugs mixed with the tech industry and radicalism, What the Dormouse Said tells the story of the birth of the personal computer through the people, politics, and protest that defined its unique era. Based on interviews with all the major surviving players, Markoff vividly captures the lives and times of those who laid the groundwork for the PC revolution, introducing the reader to such colorful characters as Fred Moore, a teenage antiwar protester who went on to ignite the computer industry, and Cap'n Crunch, who, while in prison, wrote the first word processing software for the IBM PC (EZ Writer), became a millionaire, and ended up homeless. Both immensely informative and entertaining, What the Dormouse Said promises to appeal to all readers of technology, especially the bestselling The Soul of a New Machine.
Most histories of the personal computer industry focus on technology or business. John Markoff's landmark book is about the culture and consciousness behind the first PCs. What the Dormouse Said is a brilliant evocation of Stanford, California, in the 1960s and '70s, where a group of visionaries set out to turn computers into a means for freeing minds and information. In these pages, readers encounter Ken Kesey and the phone hacker Cap'n Crunch, est and LSD, The Whole Earth Catalog and the Homebrew Computer Lab. Based on interviews with all the major surviving players, What the Dormouse Said tells the story of the birth of the personal computer, a history where military hardware, antimilitary software, and psychedelics are tangled together in the Northern California, utopian counterculture.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books (February 28, 2006)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 10 ounces