What the Dormouse Said

April 24th, 2005

Yet another retelling of our history, but from a different perspective as told by John Markoff. My own recollection of the times was that computers attracted people coming in from the edge from many different directions. It seems much more homogenized now, but thankfully we still have an influx of the unusual who never even saw the inside of a box.

What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, John Markoff, Viking, 25 April 2005.

“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 heady mix of tech industries, radicalism, and readily available drugs flourished, 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 wrote the first word processing software for the IBM PC (EZ Writer) in prison, 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.”