Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell

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Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell

Format:  Hardcover,

431 pages

Publisher: Pgw

Publish Date: Feb 2013

ISBN-13: 9780802120618

ISBN-10: 080212061X

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
Before smart phones, back even before the Internet and personal computer, a misfit group of technophiles, blind teenagers, hippies, and outlaws figured out how to hack the world's largest machine: the telephone system.


Publisher: Pgw
Publish Date: Feb 2013
ISBN-13: 9780802120618
ISBN-10: 080212061X
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 431
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.65
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.1 x 1.6 x 8.9


Review by Library Journal (2013-04-01)

Tech industry veteran Lapsley uses more than 100 interviews and 400 Freedom of Information Act requests to present the virtually unknown battle between phone companies and overcurious young tech whizzes determined to explore Ma Bell's networks. With accuracy and integrity, he pieces together a believably authentic re-creation of 1967, a highly significant period in telecommunications history. The author's background in electrical engineering and management well qualifies him to contextualize the "phone phreak" movement.

While he also devotes attention to the interests of the corporation and the government, he clearly intends his readers' sympathies to lie with those who merely wanted to know everything about how phones worked, and justly so: their efforts led to the first "online" social networks (the telephonic equivalents of cyberspace), and, according to its founders, Apple. This differentiates Lapsley's book from existing related histories of the telephone, telephone companies, the computer, and computer hacking, and from articles on phone phreaks proper.

Verdict: Particularly resonant to members of any counterculture, this fascinating narrative captures the ethos of hacking as it existed before the personal-computer era.

-Ricardo Laskaris, York Univ. Lib., Toronto

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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