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Paperback | $33.95 Trade | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780262532037 | 460 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 69 illus. | April 2003
eBook | $23.95 Trade | ISBN: 9780262332873 | 460 pp. | 69 illus. | April 2003

A History of Modern Computing, Second Edition


This engaging history covers modern computing from the development of the first electronic digital computer through the dot-com crash. The author concentrates on five key moments of transition: the transformation of the computer in the late 1940s from a specialized scientific instrument to a commercial product; the emergence of small systems in the late 1960s; the beginning of personal computing in the 1970s; the spread of networking after 1985; and, in a chapter written for this edition, the period 1995-2001. The new material focuses on the Microsoft antitrust suit, the rise and fall of the dot-coms, and the advent of open source software, particularly Linux. Within the chronological narrative, the book traces several overlapping threads: the evolution of the computer's internal design; the effect of economic trends and the Cold War; the long-term role of IBM as a player and as a target for upstart entrepreneurs; the growth of software from a hidden element to a major character in the story of computing; and the recurring issue of the place of information and computing in a democratic society. The focus is on the United States (though Europe and Japan enter the story at crucial points), on computing per se rather than on applications such as artificial intelligence, and on systems that were sold commercially and installed in quantities.

About the Author

Paul E. Ceruzzi is a Curator at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. He is the author of A History of Modern Computing, Internet Alley: High Technology in Tysons Corner, 1945-2005, both published by the MIT Press, and other books.


“A good addition to any collection of computer history books.”—Michael Swaine , Dr. Dobb's Journal
A History of Modern Computing is a monumental achievement.”—Cal Clinchard , PC Today
“The author does a great job in making this volume an enjoyable learning experience.”—Gary E. Watts , Science Books & Film


“Paul E Ceruzzi explores the mostly unmapped history of computing since 1945. Readers seeking to undestand a half century of turbulent and complex history will find him an informed and thoughtful guide. A path breaking book.”
Thomas P. Hughes, author of Rescuing Prometheus and American Genesis
“Paul E Ceruzzi is America's finest historian of computing, and his masterful retelling of the past fifty years of these machines is an instant classic. A distinguished scholar with a poet's sense of deeper questions, Ceruzzi has given us a balanced, comprehensive, clear and incisive account of the digital computer from its origins in Worl War II to its place in the World Wide Web of the 1900s. Brilliantly, he elevates the computer beyond the arcane world of gadgetry and places it squarely in the center of American life, which is where it belongs.”
G. Pascal Zachary, author of Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century