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Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution [Paperback]

Steven Levy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Jan 2002
This book traces the history of Hackers, from clunky computer card punching machines to the inner secrets of what would become the internet. With groundbreaking profiles of Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, MIT railroad club and more; the shapers of the digital revolution.

Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (31 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141000511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141000510
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 513,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Chief Technology writer at 'Newsweek' and a regular contributer to numerous publications including 'Macworld' and 'Wired'.

Author of CRYPTO.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic , the history of modern computing 25 Mar 2001
By A Customer
If your into computing then this book is a "must read". As much as is possible it turns the rather boring subject of computing history into a good read. It describes all the periods , people and moments from computing history in detail and gives the reasoning ( dare is say - logic ) behind how we ended up with computing as it is today.
The only gripe that could be aimed at this book is that it is completely US orientated. To read this book without any prior knowledge would leave you with the impression that the computer "revolution" started and remains the sole property of the US.
Whilst in a lot of cases this is true , particularly in the area of hardware , the author did take a rather blinkered view when he covered the subject of computer games which doesn't do justice to the UK gaming companies who were ( and still are ) every bit as important as our US cousins.
The bottom line though is that its a brilliant book , one i would recommend to anyone who is nerdy enough to want to know the history of modern day computing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By adulau
Owner of the previous edition, I was maybe expecting too much for the 25th anniversary edition... The original one is really a great book showing the computer history and especially the beginning of the video games industry. The hacker movement is also clearly defined and explained the importance of breaking the boundaries in computer science. But if you are already the owner of the previous edition, you don't really need to purchase the anniversary edition... as this is just 20 pages of 25-years after without too much new advancement. At the end, the quality of this book resides in its ability to be still very good after 25 years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The personalities that drove the computing Boom. 16 Feb 2004
When looking for a fantastic read one does not immediately jump to the computer history section, thank Levy for exceptions.
Stephen Levy, a gifted author and journalist, leads the reader on a poignant journey through an age where computing still conjured up images of 6 foot computer terminals explored studiously by social outcasts. Levy has vibrantly fleshed out each of these leading characters and probably shined personality into historical figures who otherwise may have forever remained nameless geniuses.
As much a classic as any commentary in the past 40years, assuredly to be on class reading lists in the future... so get it before your Grand-kids do!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read! 21 Sep 2001
By A Customer
I have to agree with the previous reviewer. This is an absolute brilliant book and once I started reading I literally could not put it down and so far I have not encountered this feeling with any other book. I have also re-read it several times and whilst computer nerds will it enjoy it the most I can recommend it to anyone with even the minimal of interest in computers. PS If you are a nerd buy two! One 'good' copy and one you can just keep reading and lend out to friends.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic History of Computing 29 Aug 2003
A hack: a neat or smart way of fixing or implementing something. This definition was in use in MIT in the late fifties in the MIT Tech Railroad Club where young engineers would devise ways of controlling their large model layout. Also in MIT were some of the first large computers and these young men (pretty exclusively so) were drawn to these behemoths like bugs to a flame. Hours were spent writing and debugging code. It wasn't easy going at the start as some of these machines had no i/o devices such as monitors, but these young men were bitten by the bug and became devoted to the cause.
The first section of the book describes the rise of the original computer hacker, and the Hacker Ethos that came with it. Software was free to all, and if you make an improvement to someone elses code, you were welcome to do so. But these young people were a priviledged few as hacking was limited to those with access to these college machines.
In the second part of the book, based mainly in the seventies, we see hacking being applied to hardware and the creation of the first home computers. The first was the Altair, which had no keyboard, but spread like wildfire. People spent ages writing programs for it and explored all it's possibilities. It's here that we meet Bill Gates, a young programmer asked to write a BASIC compiler for the machine. The hacker ethos of software being free for all didn't sit well with Mr. Gates and he wrote a letter to a popular computing magazine at the time, explaining that since he wrote the code, wasn't he entitled to some payment. Mr Gates doesn't really appear again, but that small glimpse of him seems so true.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing! 1 Feb 2004
Right from the beginning this book had me completely hooked. It is obvious the amount of research that has gone into this book, and it delivers exactly what it promises.
I had always hated the way the media had mis-used the word hacker, and if your interested in finding out what a true hacker is, then this is a must read.
Stephen Levy describes in detail the people that pioneered computing in the 50's, selling there souls to programming and living the hacker dream, to the hardware hackers, and finally the bedroom programmers writing games.
If your in anyway addicted to computers and want to know where it all started, or if your an open source advocate then this is a MUST read. BUY NOW!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary account of the growth of the home computer.
If you thought the term 'Hackers' had anything to do with computers you were mis-informed - but they invented the entire industry, bootstrapping it from skills learned from people... Read more
Published 3 months ago by la Plume de ma Tante
5.0 out of 5 stars I cant put this down
This product gets 5 stars because it is an absolutely fascinating insight into the history of hacking. A must read for any ICT professional or hobbyist.
Published 3 months ago by Steve South Wales
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative
This is a great book for anybody interested in computers, very interesting and eye opening content. I'm an IT consultant and programmer so this book was brilliant for me.
Published 6 months ago by Chris Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Great if you are 50 ish and know the original meaning of the word...
That is a guy "hacking" at a computer and nothing to do with system security infiltration which is an entirely different thing. Read more
Published 14 months ago by JONAH8208
4.0 out of 5 stars This is where it started
If you work within the field of computing and have an interest in how and why things have developed the way they have, then this book is one that you really should get. Read more
Published on 9 Jan 2011 by Mole
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book in years
Having been working in the IT industry as a programmer for nearly 10 years, I just wish I had read this book 10 years ago.
This is a MUST have book for any IT professional.
Published on 25 Nov 2010 by Paul Leclercq
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating look at the history of the computer industry
Hackers is a fascinating history of the computer industry from the late 50's through to the late 80s, covering the birth of the personal computer, the internet and the gaming... Read more
Published on 26 Aug 2010 by D. Graham
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of breed
This is simply the best computer history book I've ever read. The early chapters at MIT, I think are the the stand-out chapters here. Read more
Published on 4 April 2005 by G. J. Little
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