Broad Band Hardcover – 7 Jan 2019
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"An insightful, intelligent observer...Evans proves a companionable guide for a tour through cyberspace...[and] provide[s] much needed perspective." --New York Times"Broad Band is a celebration of the women whose minds gave birth to the motherboard and its brethren.... an engaging series of biographical essays on lesser known mathematicians, innovators and cyberpunks." --Wall Street Journal "A jaunty new history of women in computing." --WIRED "A spirited collection of portraits of women who contributed to the infrastructure of the digital economy." --Wall Street Journal "In this inspiring tale, writer Evans chronicles the contributions of some of the many women who aided the rise of the modern Internet." --Scientific American "An invigorating history of female coders, engineers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who helped create and shape the internet." --Publishers Weekly "An edifying and entertaining history of the rise of the computer age and the women who made it possible. A good choice for fans of Hidden Figures." --Kirkus A "fascinating and inspiring work of women's history." --Booklist "Broad Band is the Our Bodies, Ourselves for all computer users--this knowledge belongs to us. And Claire Evans tells the story like a friend who knows you get bored easily; a generous sort of brilliance that pulled me right in. This is a radicallyimportant, timely work."
--MIRANDA JULY, filmmaker, artist, and author of The First Bad Man "Broad Band is such an interesting secret history, written with great panache."
--JON RONSON, author of The Psychopath Test and So You've Been Publicly Shamed "A necessary addition to the story of women in computing, about known heroes and the fearless women and punks the world needs to know more about."
--ELLEN ULLMAN, author of Life in Code, Close to the Machine, and The Bug "Broad Band is thrilling, powerful stuff. At once an electric feminist history of modern tech and a much-needed corrective to the hyper-male mythology of Silicon Valley, Evans's compelling, surprising, and eminently readable work restores due credit to the countless brilliant women who made the connected world into what it is today."
--BRIAN MERCHANT, author of The One Device "Evans's riveting account of female innovators from the Victorianage to today fills in gaps in the history we should have had all along, and provides unique, enlightening insight into some of the most revolutionary technological advances of our time--from the world's first computer game to the creation of the '.com' domain."
--JOSHUA DAVIS, author of Spare Parts
About the Author
Claire L. Evans is a writer and musician. She is the singer and coauthor of the pop group YACHT, and the founding editor of Terraform, VICE's science-fiction vertical. She is the former futures editor of Motherboard, and a contributor to VICE, the Guardian, WIRED, and Aeon; previously, she was a contributor to Grantland and wrote National Geographic's popular culture and science blog, Universe. She is an advisor to design students at Art Center College of Design and a member of the cyberfeminist collective Deep Lab. She lives in Los Angeles.
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On the most basic level, there are a bunch of really interesting stories in here about really interesting people (most of which you've probably never heard of) who were among the first to do important and/or fundamental things which have ended up shaping the world we live in today. Claire's style means that these are easy to enjoy, and arranged in a way that allows them to be consumed one at a time.
At a deeper lever it's made me think about underrepresentation, intersectionality, and the unconscious erasure of the contribution of an entire group of people. Claire acknowledges frequently that roles have changed over time, and one of the main themes is that in many cases the ground-breaking work these women (and she would also argue women as a whole) have contributed to the field, they have done when the field was not viewed as desirable or interesting.
It has been disappointing for me to read some of the comments left on Facebook from publicity pieces to do with the book, where many people who have not read these stories have out-of-hand dismissed them as they are contra to the history they have learned. One of the points I took away from this book is that when two people follow similar paths and develop similar concepts in complete isolation from each other how are you to decide who was "first"? How do you quantify that? More importantly: why do we quantify that? Tech has an obsession with the first and the fastest, but what if the history was written in recognition of those who transformed their communities for the better? Or for those who got stuck in and did it when no one else wanted to? How many stories do we miss because we're looking at the wrong thing?
Anyways: it's a really enjoyable read that also leaves you thinking...