From 0 to 1:
An Authoritative History of
A Akera and F Nebeker (Editors)
Oxford University Press, August 2002
ISBN 0 19 514025 7, £24.99
Dr Charles Oppenheim
This is an extremely reasonably priced 230-page hardback book on the early history of computing. It comprises 15 chapters, each by a different author (the two editors are amongst the chapter contributors as well).
Six chapters are on hardware, six on software and three on the computer industry. The text is supported by some nostalgic photographs, by lists of further readings, and some useful appendices on finding out about computer history and about museums of computing artefacts world-wide. The book ends with a fairly good index.
2. Factual Errors
There are some factual errors. The Internet is not synonymous with the World Wide Web as is claimed; Bletchley Park was the Government Code and Cipher School and not the Department of Communications of the Foreign Office; and surprisingly, Bletchley Park is not in the list of computer museums world-wide.
Each chapter stands on its own, and there is only little duplication between them; indeed, a problem is that they don't link together sufficiently well, and many of them end abruptly without any summing up.
These are minor quibbles in what is an intriguing and enjoyable collection of essays. The last word on the history of computing it is not; it is not completely authoritative either; but it can be recommended to those with an interest in the subject, either personal or professional.
This is a Book Review published on 4 July 2003.
Citation: Oppenheim, C, 'From 0 to 1: An Authoritative History of Modern Computing', A Akera and F Nebeker (Editors), Book Review, The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT) 2003 (1) <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/03-1/oppenheim4.html>. New Citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2003_1/oppenheim4/>.