“The Computer Boys Take Over rewrites the history of computing by recounting the development of software in terms of labor, gender, and professionalization. Ensmenger meets the long-standing challenge to reform computer history by employing themes of vital interest to the general history of science and technology.”
Ronald Kline, Bovay Professor in History and Ethics of Engineering, Cornell University
“The Computer Boys Take Over shows how computer programmers struggled for professional legitimacy and organizational recognition from the early days of ENIAC through the $300 billion Y2K crisis. Ensmenger’s descriptions of ‘computer science’ and ‘software engineering,’ as well as his portraits of Maurice Wilkes, Alan Turing, John Backus, Edsger Dijkstra, Fred Brooks, and other pioneers, give a compelling introduction to the field.”
Thomas J. Misa, director of the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota
“This book provides the most holistic approach to the history of the development of programming and computer systems so far written. By embedding this history in a sociological and political context, Professor Ensmenger has added hugely to our understanding of how the world of computing and its work practices came to be.”
Martin Campbell-Kelly, Professor of Computer Science, Warwick University
The “computer revolution” of the mid-20th century is widely considered to be one of the defining moments of contemporary history. And yet very little is known about its principal revolutionaries, the computer programmers, systems analysts, and other technical experts who made possible the computerization of modern society. The story of how the “computer boys” took over, how they constructed for themselves a professional identity, and how they were simultaneously admired and resented by their corporate peers and employers, reveals the complex relationship between technological innovation, organizational politics, and social disruption that continue to define the relationship between computers and society.
Learn more about the book from MIT Press. Order on Amazon.