The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

Penguin. Jul. 2019. 512p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780399562181. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780399562198. TECH
It is logical that O’Mara (Cities of Knowledge; Pivotal Tuesdays) has focused her historical scholarship uniting the evolution of technology, Silicon Valley, and the U.S. political system in her latest book. The author utilizes first-person accounts and primary sources to explain how the world as we know it is run by software and how that came to be. The story unfolds after World War II, and describes how America’s military might, governmental influence, and disrupter after disrupter resulted in a story of survival of the fittest in Silicon Valley. Taking readers through the Vietnam era, micro revolution, and cultural revolution and interweaving late 20th-century politics as confounding influences, the book leads us up through the 2016 election and how the tech industry’s pipeline problem was baked in from the start.
VERDICT In a field crowded with accounts of how the tech industry has developed, this work places the story of our techno-human transformation within a thoughtful Darwinian context. A necessary addition to both public and academic library collections, it will become a reference for how technology has influenced America.
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