An edifying and entertaining history of the rise of the computer age and the women who made it possible. A good choice for...

A history of the major role women played in creating the internet and the computer industry.

Long before there were machines called computers, women worked as “computers,” performing complex mathematical computations by hand for the U.S. Naval Observatory and other entities. When male engineers designed the first computing machines, using relays and switches and then vacuum tubes, they hired these same women to become the operators and programmers of the machines. Evans, the former futures editor of VICE’s Motherboard and founding editor of its sci-fi imprint, Terraform, tells the fascinating story of how these highly intelligent, mathematically astute women were pioneers in a new field integral to the rise of the computer age. Since there were no training manuals, they had to figure out how the Mark I or the ENIAC computers worked by studying the hardware. Then they invented the software to run them and went back and wrote the training manuals for others to use. They wrote code, created ballistic trajectories for the war effort during World War II, invented the languages used by microprocessors today, designed searchable databases that were used to connect people across the country, and figured out a standard addressing format, which has led to the billions of .com, .org, .gov designations found online today. Throughout, the author consistently demonstrates how often these women were overlooked when it came time to acknowledge who had performed the work; they were the silent, behind-the-scenes workers who were underpaid and ignored when accolades were due. “Again and again,” she writes, “women did the jobs nobody thought were important, until they were.” Thankfully, Evans provides an informative corrective, giving proper due to these women and their invaluable work.

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.

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1175-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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