Friday, December 22, 2023

A Review of "Blood in the Machine" by Brian Merchant


Walter Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography sold nearly 230K copies in its first eight weeks in stores and is currently at #47 in Books at Amazon. Brian Merchant’s Blood in the Machine: The Origins of the Rebellion against Big Tech sits at #17,280 in Books. That’s just one way to say our fascination with the mighty always trumps (verb chosen advisedly) our interest in history’s “losers.” The Luddites have been pummeled so badly by history we don’t even use the term accurately. 

So it’s fortunate Merchant has written this engaging corrective that leans into rightfully earned polemic in its final chapters. Merchant, a Los Angeles Times technology columnist and author of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, sets himself to a difficult task, for the Luddites have been misrepresented and slandered since they first took hammer to power looms in England in the 1810s. Even today, as he points out, a Google search will tell you a Luddite is “small-minded” and “resists progress.”

Care to read the rest then do so at California Review of Books.

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