A History of Modern Computing 2nd Ed.

Paul E. Ceruzzi

Publisher: MIT Press, 2003, 445 pages

ISBN: 0-262-53203-4

Keywords: Biography

Last modified: April 6, 2021, 10:12 p.m.

This engaging history covers modern computing from the development of the first electronic digital computer through the dot-com crash. The author concentrates on five key moments of transition: the transformation of the computer in the late 1940s from a specialized scientific instrument to a commercial product; the emergence of small systems in the late 1960s; the beginning of personal computing in the 1970s; the spread of networking after 1985; and in a chapter written for this edition, the period 1995-2001. The new material focuses on the Microsoft antitrust suite, the rise and fall of the dot-coms, and the advent of open source software, particularly Linux.

Within the chronological narrative, the book traces several overlapping threads: the evolution of the computer's internal design; the effect of economic trends and the Cold War; the long-term role of IBM as a player and as a target for upstart entrepreneurs; the growth of software from a hidden element to a major character in the story of computing and the recurring issue of the place of information and computing in a democratic society. The focus is on the United States (though Europe and Japan enter the story at crucial points), on computing per se rather than on applications such as artificial intelligence, and on systems that were sold commercially and installed in quantities.

  • Introduction: Defining "Computer"
  1. The Advent of Commercial Computing, 1945-1956
  2. Computing Comes of Age, 1956-1964
  3. The Early History of Software, 1952-1968
  4. From Mainframe to Minicomputer, 1959-1969
  5. The "Go-Go" Years and teh System/360, 1961-1975
  6. The Chip and Its Impact, 1965-1975
  7. The Personal Computer, 1972-1977
  8. Augmenting Human Intellect, 1975-1985
  9. Workstations, UNIX, and the Net, 1981-1995
  10. "Internet Time", 1995-2001
  • Conclusion: The Digitization of the World Picture


A History of Modern Computing

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:54 a.m.

A very good and exhaustive history of the computing age. The author is in great awe of Microsoft, but if that is disregarded, it is good reading.


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