FEARLESS GENIUS by Doug Menuez

FEARLESS GENIUS

The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley 1985-2000
by , photographed by

KIRKUS REVIEW

A pictorial and textual time machine documenting the driven personalities who pioneered the technological world from 1985 to 2000.

Mattresses on the floor, toddlers crawling around, empty takeout cartons left standing on tabletops and computer guts everywhere: These are just a few of the incongruous but gripping scenes Menuez managed to capture during his fascinating years chronicling Silicon Valley. Given unprecedented access to Steve Jobs’ new NeXT computer company following the late icon’s ouster from Apple, Menuez soon found his way inside the buzzing beehives of other digital giants like Netscape, Photoshop, Sun, Microsoft and others. In addition to the mercurial Jobs, the author trained his illuminating camera lens on the likes of Bill Gates, John Warnock, Chuck Geschke, Bill Joy, Marc Andreessen and a cavalcade of other technological innovators. In this book, Menuez captures them arguing, laughing, pondering and relentlessly pressing forward. While managing to convey both intimacy and perspective, the photographic format lends a certain historical gravitas to events that may only now be settling into comfortable memory. Each frame brims with the subjects’ frustration, fascination and fun. Everyone is having such a good time making history, but will they burn out before their chosen tasks are completed? A photo depicting the suicidal tendencies of a defeated tech support employee says a lot: “Although the Macintosh was designed to be easy to use, as it evolved it became more complex and unwieldy. Users were frustrated and angry and took it out on tech support employees." Menuez even makes the innovators’ solitude—sequestered behind drawn blinds for days or cordoned off from the rest of the pack in lonely cubicles—surprisingly compelling. The accompanying text is both complementary and instructive. An interesting introduction by novelist Kurt Andersen sets the stage for an indispensable look back at how the world we know now was actually constructed.

A vital piece of photographic history.

Pub Date: May 27th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4767-5269-3
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2014




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionSTEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson
by Walter Isaacson
IndieSTARTING UP SILICON VALLEY by Katherine Maxfield
by Katherine Maxfield