Palo Alto

A History of California, Capitalism, and the World

English language

Published Aug. 22, 2023 by Little Brown & Company.

ISBN:
978-0-316-59202-4
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4 stars (5 reviews)

Palo Alto’s weather is temperate, its people are educated and enterprising, its corporations are spiritually and materially ambitious and demonstrably world-changing. Palo Alto is also a haunted toxic waste dump built on stolen Indian burial grounds, and an integral part of the capitalist world system.

In PALO ALTO, the first comprehensive, global history of Silicon Valley, Malcolm Harris examines how and why Northern California evolved in the particular, consequential way it did, tracing the ideologies, technologies, and policies that have been engineered there over the course of 150 years of Anglo settler colonialism, from IQ tests to the "tragedy of the commons," racial genetics, and "broken windows" theory. The Internet and computers, too. It's a story about how a small American suburb became a powerful engine for economic growth and war, and how it came to lead the world into a surprisingly disastrous 21st century. PALO ALTO is an urgent …

2 editions

Palo Alto

4 stars

Very good on the whole, although a bit of a slog. I especially appreciated the early history of California, which was much better than the whitewashed version I got in school. The bits on Stanford and Palo Alto history were enlightening as well. By the time it got to silicon valley, it was mostly stuff I was already aware of, but still historically accurate and worthwhile criticism.

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