Fire in the Valley

  • by Michael Swaine, Paul Freiberger
  • Narrated by Don Azevedo
  • 15 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the 1970s, while their contemporaries were protesting the computer as a tool of dehumanization and oppression, a motley collection of college dropouts, hippies, and electronics fanatics were engaged in something much more subversive. Obsessed with the idea of getting computer power into their own hands, they launched from their garages a hobbyist movement that grew into an industry - and ultimately a social and technological revolution. What they did was invent the personal computer: not just a new device but a watershed in the relationship between man and machine. This is their story.
Fire in the Valley is the definitive history of the personal computer, drawn from interviews with the people who made it happen, written by two veteran computer writers who were there from the start. Working at InfoWorld in the early 1980s, Swaine and Freiberger daily rubbed elbows with people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates when they were creating the personal computer revolution.
A rich story of colorful individuals, Fire in the Valley profiles these unlikely revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, such as Ed Roberts of MITS, Lee Felsenstein at Processor Technology, and Jack Tramiel of Commodore as well as Jobs and Gates in all the innocence of their formative years.
This completely revised and expanded third edition brings the story to its completion, chronicling the end of the personal computer revolution and the beginning of the post-PC era. It covers the departure from the stage of major players with the deaths of Steve Jobs and Douglas Engelbart and the retirements of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer; the shift away from the PC to the cloud and portable devices; and what the end of the PC era means for issues such as personal freedom and power and open source versus proprietary software.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting material which was performed well

The author seems to have a prejudice for Apple and Steve Jobs. The book only briefly mentions the open source movement and doesn't mention Richard Stallman or the FSF at all. The lack of credit to Linux and how it impacted the industry was also disappointing. However, the material that is in the book was interesting and many anecdotes and quotes were provided. The history was well written as an engaging story and didn't get bogged down anywhere.

The performance was good as well. The speaker could have been a little more animated but the reader doesn't tire when listening to him. The recording appears to have been professionally done.
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- Christopher Voltz

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-22-2016
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf