Review of Janet Abbate's Inventing the Internet

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Janet Abbate, Inventing the Internet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999, 258 pages

Janet Abbate’s Inventing the Internet explores the history of the Internet as "a tale of collaboration and conflict among a remarkable variety of players." (3) Abbate’s writing concentrates on the Internet’s development through social and cultural influences. The book explores the evolution of the Internet from ARPANET to global networks. The Internet’s expansion has existed within an interworking web of innovators; government and military, computer scientists, graduate students, researchers, cable and phone companies, network users, etc. The details given by Abbate affirm the book’s claim that the Internet was not born of a single originating event. It, instead, progressed over time through the junction of advances in technology and needs in society.

The Internet is an ever-adapting system, which is fresh and changing at escalating rates yet has a history that crosses over several decades. Born within paranoia surrounding the Cold War and growing through many different forms, the Internet’s history is laid out chronologically in Abbate’s six chapters. In this informative and methodical chronicle, Abbate tracks the important teamwork of the Internet’s creators and societal needs in a detailed and entertaining volume of history.

Despite the revolution of the Internet bringing about doorways to assorted information, it has done a bizarrely deprived job of recording its own history. As the Internets’ creators get older, it is essential to capture their first hand accounts of the history they made. In her book, Inventing the Internet, Abbate saves the early history of the Internet.

The book is divided into six segments. The first segment relays White Heat and Cold War: The Origins and Meanings of Packet Switching that is primarily about packet switching. The second covers the political and technical challenges involved in Building...
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