Most of this will come as no news to those familiar with, say, Malcolm Gladwell or Jaron Lanier, but Naughton’s optimism and...



So what’s the big deal with this Internet thing, anyway? Technology historian and writer Naughton (Vice President/Wolfson Coll., Cambridge; A Brief History of the Future, 2000) provides a mostly convincing answer.

Former Talking Heads frontman and author David Byrne has lately been pointing out that the Internet is a terrible thing for music and culture, largely due to the fact that it’s made it impossible to sell what can be freely stolen—beg pardon, downloaded. Naughton takes a more forgiving view, invoking the Schumpeterian notion of creative destruction, which requires…well, destruction. In the case of the Internet, part of what is being destroyed is an old economy, though, as Naughton notes, in the case of the musical economy, it could have worked out differently had the record companies not been so greedy. And part, more ominously, are old ideas of freedom and privacy: “For governments of all political stripes—from authoritarian regimes to liberal democracies—the Internet is a surveillance tool made in heaven, because much of the surveillance can be done, not by expensive and fallible human beings, but by computers.” You are your clickstream, and therein, it must be noted, as Naughton does, lie Orwellian possibilities. Along the way, the author makes good points on the history of various Internet stalwarts, not least of them Facebook, and notes how the Internet defies some of the fundamental principles of economics, especially scarcity, since the Internet is an embarrassment of riches and too-muchness, if also an engine of decentralization.

Most of this will come as no news to those familiar with, say, Malcolm Gladwell or Jaron Lanier, but Naughton’s optimism and easily worn learning makes this a pleasure to read.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62365-062-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Mobius

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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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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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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