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Palo Alto by Malcolm Harris
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Palo Alto

A History of California, Capitalism, and the World

$47.24

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Narrator Patrick Harrison

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Length 28 hours 19 minutes
Language English
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The history of Silicon Valley, from railroads to microchips, is an “extraordinary” story of disruption and destruction, told for the first time in this comprehensive, jaw-dropping narrative (Greg Grandin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The End of the Myth).

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 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.

Malcolm Harris is a freelance writer and the author of Kids These Days: The Making of Millennials and Shit is Fucked Up and Bullshit: History Since the End of History. He was born in Santa Cruz, CA and graduated from the University of Maryland.

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Reviews

“Harris painstakingly connects literature, geography, and economics to understand Palo Alto's history and its relationship to capitalism…Readers interested in U.S. history, particularly pertaining to capitalism and technology, will find an engaging and clear-eyed Silicon Valley tale of a small city with global importance.”—BOOKLIST

"Extraordinary. In lucid, personal, often funny, and always insightful prose, Malcolm Harris finds the driving thrust of reaction not in capitalism’s left-behind regions but in its vanguard: California, and specifically Silicon Valley.  We have not yet felt the full force of the shit storm that the titans of tech have been conjuring. We soon will.  If you want to understand what’s coming, you need to read this book."

Greg Grandin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The End of Myth “Malcolm Harris's singular and brilliant PALO ALTO is a geologic survey of the bedrock of the imperial violence that lies beneath the surface of some of the country's wealthiest ZIP Codes.  The formations it follows stretch outward across the globe, to Asia, Europe, across the Americas and to the rest of the United States.  In the end, the book provides not so much an account of strict cause and effect—the familiar history of the robber barons and tech tycoons—but a core sample of the thorough-going greed and pillage at the heart of American history: the expropriation, the violence, and the guilt that seep upward through the soil of neoliberalism's most fruitful plain.”—Walter Johnson, Winthrop Professor of History and African American Studies at Harvard University and author of The Broken Heart of America Expand reviews
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