The Computer Boys Take Over rewrites the history of computing by recounting the development of software in terms of labor, gender, and professionalization. Ensmenger meets the long-standing challenge to reform computer history by employing themes of vital interest to the general history of science and technology. -- Ronald Kline, Bovay Professor in History and Ethics of Engineering, Cornell University The Computer Boys Take Over shows how computer programmers struggled for professional legitimacy and organizational recognition from the early days of ENIAC through the $300 billion Y2K crisis. Ensmenger's descriptions of 'computer science' and 'software engineering,' as well as his portraits of Maurice Wilkes, Alan Turing, John Backus, Edsger Dijkstra, Fred Brooks, and other pioneers, give a compelling introduction to the field. -- Thomas J. Misa, director of the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota This book provides the most holistic approach to the history of the development of programming and computer systems so far written. By embedding this history in a sociological and political context, Professor Ensmenger has added hugely to our understanding of how the world of computing and its work practices came to be. -- Martin Campbell-Kelly, Professor of Computer Science, Warwick University
Nathan Ensmenger is Associate Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University.
...Ensmenger has crafted an orderly and well organized argument that the dynamics of managing computer firms have often been as complex as the subject matter itself... In this important way, The Computer Boys Take Over is learned, well-documented with citations, and often humorous -- with numerous period cartoons and company advertisements that nicely support the text. Such a study of computing's early and arguably most important years, is long overdue. High Tech History blog