From Library Journal
John V. Atanasoff, assisted by graduate student Clifford Berry, conceived and built a partially electronic computer, stopping work in 1942 before it was fully operational. But his work predates that of J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, widely credited with inventing the first general purpose electronic computer (the Eniac). Both books under review document Atanasoff's work and the subsequent legal case in which Sperry Rand's original patent was invalidated and aspects of the Eniac were found to "derive" from Atanasoff's work. The Burks, affiliated with the Moore School of Electrical Engineering when the Eniac was being developed, have firsthand knowledge through personal involvement. Their analysis of Atanasoff's work is extremely well done and technically insightful. Mollenhoff is a lawyer and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who lived in Iowa. Atanasoff developed his computer while a professor at Iowa State, and Mollenhoff has been championing his case since the decision on the Eniac patent in 1973. His book is a biography of Atanasoff, with an analysis of the patent suit. Though both books suffer from a certain stridency in stating Atanasoff's case and in chastising Mauchly for everything from unpatriotic to illegal behavior in not crediting Atanasoff's work, they both make valuable contributions to the record and do not overlap as much as the titles might indicate. Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.