Refer me to a good book about Internet history, please.

Jack Briggs

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Perhaps it's when I heard a pundit on PBS--I think in the Nerds two-part documentary--refer to the Internet as the "greatest revolution in communications since the invention of language." That's going a bit far. I might be willing to consider it the greatest revolution in communications since the printing press. But I think "since television" is closer to accurate.

The Internet's history does make for fascinating subject matter.

What, then, might be some good books about the origin and development of the Internet? I'd like it to be as current as possible, covering the World Wide Web revolution-within-a-revolution.

Thanks.
 

Cees Alons

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Jack,
Here's an excellent and rather intriguing book:
Janet Abbate: Inventing the Internet (1999).
Janet Abbate is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Maryland and her book is also based on her former thesis.
And this one details the first decade of the internet:
Katie Hafner, Matthew Lyon: Where Wizards Stay Up Late : The Origins of the Internet (1996).
Here are some more difficult works, recommended to me by learned friends (but I haven't had a chance to even begin reading them yet), the "Information Age Trilogy" by Prof. Manuel Castells (Berkeley):
- The Rise of the Network Society
- The Power of Identity : The Information Age - Economy, Society and Culture
- End of Millennium
It seems he wrote a more popular (and much smaller) version of his books, I don't know how good this one is: Manuel Castells: The Internet Galaxy : Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society (2001).
Hope you can use some (or all) of these!
Cees
 

Jack Briggs

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Al Gore notwithstanding, Cees here has inspired me to take a little trip to Amazon.com. Thanks!
 

DaveF

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Though not specifically a history of the internet, I highly recommend The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll. It's still timely, a great story, and has a good bit of early history of the internet.
 

Jeff Kleist

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Hackers, by Steven Levy is a good book on the rise of computing from early mainframes to personal computers, and the geeks who made them run

It contains quite a bit of info on early networks
 

John Miles

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Second the recommendation of Steven Levy's Hackers. It's impossible to understand the evolution of the Internet apart from the kind of people who turned computers into a necessary element of modern life.
 

Bill Slack

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Where Wizards Stay Up Late, by Katie Hafner
Cyberpunk, by Katie Hafner
The Cuckoo's Egg, by Cliff Stoll

These have been the most entertaining/informative ones I've read.

The Cuckoo's Egg is actually the opposite side of one of the three stories in Cyberpunk. It's fascinating to read it from both sides.

Hafner is a an excellent writer for this subject.

How The World Was One: Beyond the Global Village, by Arthur C. Clarke is an interesting and quick read about telecommunications in general.

All of these are relatively easy and non-technical reads. Though you'll find them more enjoyable if you're somewhat technically inclined.
 

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