Tubes by Andrew Blum is the first and only book to expose what's really going on behind the scenes at the Internet, and will appeal to fans of The Social Network and Michael Lewis's The Big Short.
You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?
In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'internet' actually is.
This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a bunch of tubes.
But what tubes... Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives. In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.
'Every web site, every email, every instant message travels through real junctions in a real network of real cables. It's all too awesome to behold. Andrew Blum's fascinating book demystifies the earthly geography of this most ethereal terra incognita' Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein
'Compelling and profound. You will never open an e-mail in quite the same way again' Tom Vanderbilt, author of the New York Times bestseller Traffic
Andrew Blum is a correspondent at Wired magazine whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New Yorker, The New York Times, Business Week and Slate. Blum was a lead media commentator during the internet blackout of the Egyptian revolution, and his latest article on gizmodo.com got 100,000 hits in its first day.