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How Not to Network a Nation
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Benjamin Peters's book is not only a scintillating explanation of why the Soviet Internet failed to materialize but also a first-rate sociopolitical investigative report and a delicious tale of how Soviet efforts to manage a command economy left them without either command or an economy. -- Todd Gitlin, Professor and Chair, PhD Program in Communications, Columbia University; author of Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives Peters offers a compelling account of the Soviet Union's failed attempts to construct their own Internet during the Cold War period. How Not to Network a Nation fills an important gap in the Internet's history, highlighting the ways in which generativity and openness have been essential to networked innovation. -- Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Harvard University; Director, Berkman Center for Internet & Society As early as 1962, cybernetics experts in the Soviet Union proposed a complex, large-scale computer network. It fit with a socialist vision but not with bureaucratic politics and a faltering command economy. It was never realized, but the story sheds light both on Soviet history and on the social conditions that shape computing and communications networks. It is a previously unknown story, now elegantly told by Benjamin Peters together with a thoughtful analysis that makes the early history of computing seem full of possibilities not obvious. -- Craig Calhoun, FBA, Director and President, London School of Economics and Political Science

About the Author

Benjamin Peters is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Tulsa and affiliated faculty at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

Reviews

[A]n immersive read that covers the ground in impressive detail.

-Times Higher Education

Anyone interested in the history of the internet, comparative systems, or the history of the Soviet Union should read this book.

-Marginal Revolution

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