A New History of Modern Computing

From History of Computing

A New History of Modern Computing

By Thomas Haigh and Paul E. Ceruzzi

How the computer became universal.
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How the computer became universal.

Over the past fifty years, the computer has been transformed from a hulking scientific supertool and data processing workhorse, remote from the experiences of ordinary people, to a diverse family of devices that billions rely on to play games, shop, stream music and movies, communicate, and count their steps. In A New History of Modern Computing, Thomas Haigh and Paul Ceruzzi trace these changes. A comprehensive reimagining of Ceruzzi's A History of Modern Computing, this new volume uses each chapter to recount one such transformation, describing how a particular community of users and producers remade the computer into something new.

Haigh and Ceruzzi ground their accounts of these computing revolutions in the longer and deeper history of computing technology. They begin with the story of the 1945 ENIAC computer, which introduced the vocabulary of “programs” and “programming,” and proceed through email, pocket calculators, personal computers, the World Wide Web, videogames, smart phones, and our current world of computers everywhere—in phones, cars, appliances, watches, and more. Finally, they consider the Tesla Model S as an object that simultaneously embodies many strands of computing.


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262542906 544 pp. | 7 in x 10 in 88 figures


  • “Haigh and Ceruzzi take a global perspective to integrate new work on network history, gender, and labor with their unmatched technical analysis. The result is a must-read for all those interested in the evolving histories of computers and computing.”

    Valérie Schafer

    , Professor in Contemporary History, Luxembourg Center for Contemporary and Digital History, University of Luxembourg

  • A New History of Modern Computing is an instant classic—essential to historians, curators, and interdisciplinary scholars in information and media studies. Its integrated analysis of usage and technological change is an impressive feat and a real joy to read.”

    Gerardo Con Diaz

    author of Software Rights

  • “From microchips to cellphones to gigantic server farms, computers are among history's most revolutionary and rapidly evolving technologies. Yet their own history is littered with myth, misunderstanding, and misinformation. Written by distinguished experts, this book tells the definitive story of where computers came from, how they changed the world, and why those changes mattered to diverse communities. An indispensable handbook for users, developers, teachers, and historians.”

    Paul Edwards

    William J. Perry Fellow in International Security, Stanford University; Professor Emeritus of Information and History, University of Michigan