Revolution in the Valley by Andy Hertzfeld et al

revolution.gifIconic and authen­tic. I remem­ber being mildly amused by the first incarn­a­tion of Andy Hertzfeld’s col­lec­tion of anec­dotes when it was first pub­lished. Revolu­tion in the Val­ley was an intriguing and enga­ging set of remin­is­cences by many of those involved in mak­ing the Macin­tosh a real­ity col­lec­ted from folklore.org. Newly re-released in 2011 here I find myself re-reading the stor­ies and enjoy­ing them even more.

This is a very unique volume. The anec­dotes are short snip­pets writ­ten over the past dec­ade and con­trib­uted to the folk­lore blog. This books brings them together and groups them into five seem­ingly logical seg­ments of the devel­op­ment of the Macin­tosh and sprinkles in some great images — includ­ing Andy’s own notes and sxcribbles from the period.

The res­ult is a poignantly authen­tic telling of the Macin­tosh devel­op­ment story from a vari­ety of per­spect­ives. It is not meant to be com­pre­hens­ive or unbiased, merely reflect­ive. It is almost Tol­stoyan in deliv­ery. You can walk away for a time and just jump back in and eas­ily pick up where you left off. There are mul­tiple inter­sect­ing plots and things just come together nat­ur­ally. You don’t want to put it down though and I must say that I just wanted to read and read and read some more. It’s totally engross­ing. Like many who will read the book I remem­ber the early days and how I ori­gin­ally dis­missed this toy of a machine, but one that went on to change my own life. This book takes you back to a dif­fer­ent time (as Andy reflects him­self in the after­word to the new edi­tion) before so many recent Apple tri­umphs. Everything was so new and excit­ing in the early 80’s and the intro­duc­tion of the graph­ical user inter­face on the Lisa and then Mac was a true revolu­tion that goes on.

This is the book of tales from the inside. I think it’s all the more enga­ging for those who were there for the revolu­tion and would be very inter­ested to hear the per­spect­ive of those not there and who take what was so revolu­tion­ary for granted.

I read this as an ebook which seems some­what odd, as the ori­ginal con­cep­tion of the book was to take the online ver­sion and put it into a par­tic­u­larly attract­ive and qual­ity print edi­tion and here it is com­ing full circle and being reas­sembled in an elec­tronic format. Its really rather deserving of the print edi­tion and I made a point of read­ing it on the iPad with full col­our PDF rather than on the Sony eBook reader where this would be lost…but I did ima­gine myself read­ing the book and feel­ing the paper. I would highly recom­mend this for any and all and ebook or print volume this is a great col­lec­tion. Tak­ing it from con­tent ori­ented folk­lore blog and cre­at­ively present­ing it embel­lishes the col­lec­tion and is well worth the investment.

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