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ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer | [Scott McCartney]

ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer

The world's first programmable computer was the legendary ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), built by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert. Based on original interviews with surviving participants and the first study of Mauchly and Eckert's personal papers, ENIAC is a dramatic human story and a vital contribution to the history of technology, and it restores to the two inventors the legacy they deserve.
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Publisher's Summary

For all his genius, John von Neumann was not, as he is generally credited, the true father of the modern computer. That honor belongs to the two men - John Mauchly and Presper Eckert - who built the world's first programmable computer, the legendary ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). Mauchly and Eckert, who met in 1941, developed a revolutionary vision: to make electricity "think." Funded by the U.S. Army, the team they led constructed a behemoth - weighing 30 tons with 18,000 vacuum tubes and miles of wiring - that blazed a trail to the next generation of computers that quickly followed, and in the process ignited a controversy over ownership that exists to this day. After their groundbreaking achievement, Mauchly and Eckert were shadowed by personal tragedies and professional setbacks as their accomplishment was laid claim to by others. They formed the world's first computer company, the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, but were quickly outdistanced by IBM.

Based on original interviews with surviving participants and the first study of Mauchly and Eckert's personal papers, ENIAC is a dramatic human story and a vital contribution to the history of technology, and it restores to the two inventors the legacy they deserve.

©1999 by Scott McCartney; (P)1999 by Blackstone Audiobooks

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  •  
    William Appleton, WI, USA 02-07-03
    William Appleton, WI, USA 02-07-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A well told story about unheralded giants"

    As an It executive I was ashamed to realize that I did not now the names of the inventors of the first electronic computer. Nor did I know that they actuall held the patent to the computer. I loved every minute of this salute to these pioneers.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Denton, Tx, United States 09-17-13
    Linda Denton, Tx, United States 09-17-13
    ratings
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    "Great Book!"
    What made the experience of listening to ENIAC the most enjoyable?

    Great book! I especially liked "The Ancestors", a chapter presented early in the book which gave a brief, concise history of technological development. It has always fascinated me and the book and narration did a tremendous job in communicating what happened. The last third of the book tends to drag on a bit but I really think it is more what actually happened and thus the author just captured that in this book. Easy to understand, easy to follow along, great for anyone who has an interesting in the development of technology in general and computers specifically.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The chapter on the origins of computers.


    Have you listened to any of Adams Morgan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    "The Ancestors" chapter.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dustin Walton, KY, United States 05-05-12
    Dustin Walton, KY, United States 05-05-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "Enthralling"

    This was an excellent audiobook. As other reviewers have stated, it starts off slow, but really picks up after an hour or two. It gets so interesting once you get past the beginning that it's hard to stop listening. I really enjoyed learning about others opinions of John Von Neumann, I had no idea he was suck a controversial figure among the early computer scientists.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jessica San Fernando, CA, United States 01-18-12
    jessica San Fernando, CA, United States 01-18-12
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    "Love it!"
    Any additional comments?

    This story is about the men who made what we know about the modern computer a reality and the story is worth knowing. It also explains to some extent the technical specs of their creation. Plus the narrator is quite good. I recommend it for history buffs, nerds, or anyone who enjoys a little nostalgia.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jose Manel Bernal 03-15-11 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Thank you for Computer History books"

    i love Computer History Field, and audiobook version help me to analyze history, i enjoy this quality audible

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Guadalupe 09-08-03
    Guadalupe 09-08-03 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    10
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    "This is about litigation"

    I was deeply disappointed. I expected to know about the ups and downs of the technological experience of building this landmark machine. Instead, I mostly heard of lawsuits, greed, libel and vexation. I should have known better.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seymour Newtown, PA, USA 06-19-04
    Seymour Newtown, PA, USA 06-19-04 Member Since 2006
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    "Errors turn a fascinating subject into a bore"

    The combination of the reader's limited expressive range and the focus of the book on personalities instead of technologies, plus the glaring technical errors of the author made this a bore. My favorite: right after a section where the author goes on at length about Eniac being the first programmable computer, he then notes how remarkable it was that the team didn't hire any experienced programmers to work on the project but trained people from scratch. Where, exactly, did the author think the builders of the FIRST programmable computer would find experienced programmers? The Future? Sheesh...

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
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