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hackers heroes of the computer revolution by steven levy

Hackers : Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy


Garden City, N.Y. : Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1984. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. xv, 458 pages ; 22 cm. In the original price clipped dust jacket, however, it is in tattered condition. Minor rubbing to cloth and lite shelfware to edges. A bit of fading to the spine as well. A culturally important book on the hackers culture early years.


Hackers: the undisputed masters of code who more than anyone are responsible for making computers widely available, splendidly useful, and fun. They are an astonishingly unique new breed of American hero, and Steven Levy has talked to the wildest brains among them to present the inside story of the computer revolution.

What drove Ricky Greenblatt, Bill Gosper, and their friends to seize control of the multimillion-dollar computers at MIT in the fifties and sixties, so they could not only use them night after night but create, explore, and play on them? What drove Lee Felsen-stein and his California hardware cohorts in the seventies to liberate the genie in the machine and give it to the people? What drove superstar game designer John Harris from the software company he had enriched in the Sierras in the eighties? It was a set of shared ideals and a vision they held in common — the Hacker Ethic.

The Hacker Ethic was an idealistic and obsessive standard that led to weird lifestyles, to hilarious clashes with bureaucracies, and even to potential illegalities: in their urge to explore computers, hackers don't necessarily care whose computer is being explored. But their hands-on, anti-authority Ethic, along with their technical brilliance, enabled them to triumph — as they do in scene after scene of this twenty-five-year epic of young American wizardry.

Steven Levy, an award-winning journalist, covers technology for Rolling Stone and writes a column for Popular Computing. He lives in New York City.

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