When Computers Were Human

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0691091570
ISBN-10: 0691091579
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When Computers Were Human is a detailed and fascinating look at a world I had not even known existed. After reading these accounts of ingenuity, determination, and true creative breakthrough, readers will look at today's computer-based society in an entirely different way."―James Fallows, National Correspondent, Atlantic Monthly

"How did the lives of people and the lives of numbers become so intimately entwined? David Alan Grier's authoritative, engaging, and richly detailed account of this neglected chapter in the history (and prehistory) of computing abounds with remarkable characters, sheds long-awaited light on their achievements, and could not have been better told."―George Dyson, author of Darwin among the Machines

"The story of computation before the invention of the computer is an important one―one that has not been told in this way before. This narrative grabs you right from the first page. Grier tells the human story behind some of the greatest scientific accomplishments, and tells it in a very readable way."―Michael R. Williams, Head Curator, Computer History Museum

"The history of the electronic computer has become the topic of a fair amount of scholarly work, and yet the wonderful story of the (collective) human computer has barely been noticed. This book will appeal both to an appreciable range of scholars and to more general readers. The style is pleasant and informal; the mathematics, accessible and interesting."―Theodore M. Porter, author of Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life

"The strength of this book is its breadth of research and its human touch. . . . [A] well written, informative and enjoyable work."---Amy Shell-Gellasch, MAA Reviews

"Prior to the advent of programmable data-processing electronic devices in the mid-20th century, the word computer was commonly used to describe a person hired to crank out stupefyingly tedious calculations. . . . Human computers have . . . been largely forgotten, and David Alan Grier . . . is intent on restoring them to their rightful place in history."---Ann Finkbeiner, Discover

"Overall, this book provides a wonderful survey of human computing from 1682 onward. . . . I recommend this book to all historians of computing, both professional and amateur."---Jonathan P. Bowen, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing

"David Alan Grier's recovery of the wonderfully rich story of human computers . . . ask[s] why human computers were made to disappear in the first place. . . . It is notoriously difficult to recover details of the lives of ordinary people. . . . But Grier triumphantly achieves his aim when discussing the twentieth-century human computer, as many are alive to tell their tales."---Jon Agar, Nature

"When Computers Were Human is a detailed and fascinating look at a world I had not even known existed."---James Fallows, National Correspondent, Atlantic Monthly

"Winner of the 2006 Book Award in Computers/Internet, Independent Publisher Book Awards"

From the Inside Flap

"When Computers Were Human is a detailed and fascinating look at a world I had not even known existed. After reading these accounts of ingenuity, determination, and true creative breakthrough, readers will look at today's computer-based society in an entirely different way."--James Fallows, National Correspondent, Atlantic Monthly

"How did the lives of people and the lives of numbers become so intimately entwined? David Alan Grier's authoritative, engaging, and richly detailed account of this neglected chapter in the history (and prehistory) of computing abounds with remarkable characters, sheds long-awaited light on their achievements, and could not have been better told."--George Dyson, author of Darwin among the Machines

"The story of computation before the invention of the computer is an important one--one that has not been told in this way before. This narrative grabs you right from the first page. Grier tells the human story behind some of the greatest scientific accomplishments, and tells it in a very readable way."--Michael R. Williams, Head Curator, Computer History Museum

"The history of the electronic computer has become the topic of a fair amount of scholarly work, and yet the wonderful story of the (collective) human computer has barely been noticed. This book will appeal both to an appreciable range of scholars and to more general readers. The style is pleasant and informal; the mathematics, accessible and interesting."--Theodore M. Porter, author of Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Princeton University Press (March 14, 2005)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 424 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0691091579
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0691091570
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.06 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 12 ratings

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
12 global ratings
5 star
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4 star
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3 star 0% (0%) 0%
2 star
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1 star 0% (0%) 0%
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Reviewed in the United States on December 7, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2005
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Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2014
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