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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 13 Number 4 -- Reviews

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129696D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 8 page(s) / 37K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

PAUL CERUZZI: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The Reviews Department features reviews of films, audio and videotapes, exhibits, end publications relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of any technical, economic, business, social, or institutional aspect of the history of computing will be given a complete review. Dissertations, articles, and other studies of interest to Annals readers will be listed in a section on ";Other Literature,"; with full bibliographic citation and notes on its nature and availability.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 11% of the total text.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1991 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Reviews

PAUL CERUZZI, EDITOR

The Reviews Department features reviews of films, audio and videotapes, exhibits, end publications relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of any technical, economic, business, social, or institutional aspect of the history of computing will be given a complete review. Dissertations, articles, and other studies of interest to Annals readers will be listed in a section on "Other Literature," with full bibliographic citation and notes on its nature and availability.

Colleagues are encouraged to participate by indicating their wish to review a work or by suggesting titles to the Reviews Editor.

Reviews without a byline are by the editor.

REVIEWS

Grosch, H.R.J. 1990. Computer: Bit Slices from a Life, Novato, CA 8 Lancaster, PA, Third Millennium Books, (An Imprint of Underwood- Miller), 264pp., $24.95, illustrated, ISBN 0-88733- 085-1

It is the first evening of the 1976 ACM National Conference. The Great Grosch is sitting at a round table in a bar alcove surrounded by admiring youths of all sexes. With a glass of wine in one hand and a computing curie on the other, Grosch TALKS, and TALKS, and TALKS. He tells fascinating Rabelaisian intimate stories of his adventures. He philosophizes. He comments on the present, the past, and the future. He criticizes and tells what he would have done. He names names. He tells of his own and others' triumphs and disasters. There is one common element in all the stories: Grosch.

This is the entirely imaginary scene that this extremely entertaining book brought to mind for it is more an extended and detailed confession in the form of a collection of well-told stories than a history. Clearly the author did not rely entirely on his memory, keen as it may be, and has made use of voluminous personal files.

The book would have benefited from a strong minded and ruthless editor with two rubber stamps, STICK TO THE POINT, and PUT THIS IN PROPER TIME SEQUENCE, which he (or she) would have had to bang all over Grosch's manuscript. The ordinary reader will become confused at once about the chronology of the story for the first seven chapters are deliberately disordered so the reader will be attracted by all the great names and events mentioned. More order prevails in later chapters but even here the narrative is repeatedly interrupted as the author jumps forward and back in time as new subjects come into his mind. This disorder, while disturbing to the ordinary reader and troublesome to a historian looking for nuggets of truth, is probably characteristic of the author whose quick and agile mind can jump like a jack rabbit from tussock to tussock, and bed to bed.

As an editor and writer about the history of U.S. computing I find a few reference documents to be essential. For example, Edmund C. Berk...