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

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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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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