A good book review is hard to write.
Book reviews are a difficult genre. A good book review has to quickly and concisely summarize an author’s argument, situate that argument in a larger literature, and critically analyze its strengths and weaknesses. All a thousand words or so.
A really stellar book review will do all these things and will add additional insight to the original question that an author was trying to address.
In another serendipitous discover of another exceptionally smart blog, I discovered High Tech History, which is dedicated to exploring the connections between the history of technology and contemporary innovations. They liked my book, which was gratifying, but they also made some interesting connections that even I had not thought of. The most fun and interesting was to everyone’s favorite engineering anti-hero, Dilbert. Dilbert is the obvious analog to my 1960s computer boys. I should have made this connection myself.
Here is a selection from their review:
Ensmenger has crafted an orderly and well-organized argument that the dynamics of managing computer firms have often been as complex as the subject matter itself. Social interaction, management structures and gender have played pivotal roles in the development of computer technology, which defy the traditional notion that mathematics and computers are somehow above such dynamics. In this important way, The Computer Boys Take Over is learned, well-documented with citations, and often humorous – with numerous period cartoons and company advertisements that nicely support the text. Such a study of computing’s early and arguably most important years, is long overdue.