A comprehensive and remarkably well-written overview of this key event in recent history.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FUTURE

FROM RADIO DAYS TO INTERNET YEARS IN A LIFETIME

A brief history of the Internet, told by a British engineer and journalist.

British journalist Naughton (The Observer) begins by reminiscing about ham radio, an early example of the sort of virtual community the Internet has created. He then points out how, without advanced technical knowledge or training, anyone with computer access now has the ability to communicate almost instantly, and without intermediaries, with a huge fraction of the human race. Surprisingly, the technology that permits this stunning access to the world was created very haphazardly. In the beginning was Arpanet, the by-blow of a Cold War defense agency’s desire for easy exchange of data between computers. To make certain that key information could survive a large-scale nuclear attack, the equipment was designed to full military specifications; the first “modems” came enclosed in heavy steel cases and were painted battleship gray. But the project assumed a life of its own almost from the day of its inception. A key theoretical breakthrough, the transfer of data in byte-sized packages, came from a British research team. E-mail, which rapidly became the single most popular feature of the net, was an unauthorized extension of a program originally meant to trade messages between users of a single machine. And the original Web browser came from the desire of a scientist at CERN, the European nuclear research facility, to organize the masses of data the scientists had to deal with. Naughton’s ability to give the nonspecialist reader a sense not only of the people but of the ideas and processes involved in the creation of the Internet is complemented by a style that emphasizes the human dimension of his subject, and (best of all) lets the reader see why it is worth caring about.

A comprehensive and remarkably well-written overview of this key event in recent history.

Pub Date: July 28, 2000

ISBN: 1-58567-032-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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