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A. Cunningham (Cardiff UK)

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The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (Borzoi Books)
The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (Borzoi Books)
by Tim Wu
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone who uses the internet should read this book, 19 Feb 2011
If you're concerned about net neutrality you should read this book. If you don't know what net neutrality is you should read this book.

The lessons of the past that Wu describes are fascinating. The effect he describes of companies who seek to set up their own "walled gardens" of content is worrying.

My only minor criticism is how America centric the book is. There are some references to developments in other parts of the world, but these are limited to giving some context.

The World Without Us
The World Without Us
by Alan Weisman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 30 July 2008
This review is from: The World Without Us (Paperback)
I had high hopes for this book when I bought it. The premise is fascinating and I expected an insightful look at what would remain of human civilisation in 100, 1000 and even 10,000 years. Unfortunately this book ended up written as a loosely linked set of anecdotes in the style of a travel book.

There are some interesting issues covered, such as long term storage of radioactive materials. Whereas this would have been a good opportunity to deal at some length with the subject of how to warn future generations of danger (the evolution of language and symbols and the fall of civilisation seem quite appropriate in this context) the subject is dismissed in a couple of paragraphs. The one aspect of our civilization almost guaranteed to endure longer than any other, our space probes and our satellites, are given far less space than they deserve too - just a half a dozen pages. The author could quite easily have spent more time of describing how to deliberately make things last, a sort of message to the future, but that chance has been missed. When the book ventures into the territory of technology and transhumanists the author gives the impression of having no clue of the technical issues or even the arguments about the issue of consciousness and immortality.

This book comes across as more of an environmentalist crusade than about the legacy of civilisation, particularly the positive side of that. You get the impression that Weisman just wanted to concentrate on his pet areas in this book, rather than doing the in-depth and complete job that the title deserved. It's a book that I'm glad that I read, but it was a frustrating experience rather than an enjoyable one.

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