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Palo Alto

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529430899

Price: £16.99

ON SALE: 11th May 2023

Genre: Economics, Finance, Business & Management

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‘Revelatory and illuminating’ New Yorker

The true, unvarnished history of the town at the heart of Silicon Valley.

Palo Alto is nice. The weather is temperate, the people are educated, rich, healthy, enterprising. Remnants of a hippie counterculture have synthesized with high technology and big finance to produce the spiritually and materially ambitious heart of Silicon Valley, whose products are changing how we do everything from driving around to eating food. It 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 and visionary history of the way we live now, one that ends with a clear-eyed, radical proposition for how we might begin to change course.

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Reviews

Harris's earlier book Kids These Days was a broad cultural history of millennials, zeroing in on the unfair economic stereotypes that have dogged the generation. Now, he tells an ambitious story of Silicon Valley, showing how its specific culture and history allowed it to become the site of both breathtaking technological advancement and capitalist exploitation.
Joumana Khatib, NEW YORK TIMES
Unsparing... Its narrative has the intoxifying capitalist rush of The Lehman Trilogy... Uneasily compelling
The Spectator
Cathartic and illuminating... readers will leave this book gifted with a trove of information, a lurch in their stomach, and a sense of foreboding about the future
Irish Independent