Soul of a New Machine high-school
topic: English
The Soul of a `New' Machine, by Tracy Kidder, describes the saga of the designing and building of a minicomputer. This story describes the computer laboratory of a company whose engineers sometimes come to work hours early just to be there first, while others burn out and go home in the middle of the day. This company has risen from nothing to the ranks of the Fortune 500 in ten short years. This great book describes a segment of the history of the Data General Corporation.
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The American Saga

circa 1991.

The Soul of a `New' Machine, by Tracy Kidder, describes the saga of the designing and building of a minicomputer.

This story describes the computer laboratory of a company whose engineers sometimes come to work hours early just to be there first, while others burn out and go home in the middle of the day. This company has risen from nothing to the ranks of the Fortune 500 in ten short years. This great book describes a segment of the history of the Data General Corporation.

Everything in this book actually happened. No names were changed and no material was left out. In 1969, Tracy Kidder went underground into the closely guarded research basement of Data General to observe a team of computer wizards about to start designing and building a fast new computer. These engineers were a bunch of competitive youngsters, most right out of engineering school, about to put together a "32-bit supermini" which would be more powerful and more complicated than any individual on the team could understand and more advanced than anything on the market at the time. A lot of people were betting they couldn't do it, but one man, their secretive boss, Tom West, was betting everything they could.

For months Kidder watched as they pushed to their limits and beyond in order to build the computer in record time. Finishing it quick would mean millions more in profits, while being months late would mean millions of lost profits.

Tracy Kidder displays a remarkable ability to explain technical detail in such a way as to make the story exciting for both the layman who knows nothing about computers and also the technician who works with them daily. He dramatizes the high tension workplace in which in which their computer was built .

The Soul of a New Machine is an exceptional depiction of work and life behind the closed doors of the American high-technology corporation.


[Zak Smith] [zak@computer.org] [/~zak/documents/high-school/review-soul-of-a-new-machine/html]
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