I just finished this great book by John Markoff. It has lots of great background information on the rise of the personal computer. But, what makes this book different is that he doesn't spend a lot of time on Steven Jobs or Bill Gates. Most of the book deals with the social structures and political climate around the early days of computing. It talks about how the early computing pioneers mixed with radicals bent on changing the world for the better. I was shocked to learn how many experimented with LSD and there's even an interesting quote from Dan Ingalls, who was known to experiment a bit, when asked about the ideas in Smalltalk: "Well, where do you think these ideas come from?!" It was just fascinating to see how politics, culture, and computing all mixed together. I also found it shocking to know that Doug Engelbart considered himself a failure. Truly sad. Anyway, it's a great read and I can't thank Eliot Miranda enough for turning me on to it. It's a great history lesson. I also got the following great quote by Theodor Nelson:
"COMPUTER POWER TO THE PEOPLE! DOWN WITH CYBERCRUD!"