William Shockley

The villains of Silicon Valley

Historians joke that some parts of the world – Crete and the Balkans, for instance– produce more history than they can consume locally. The California town of Palo Alto produces more economics than it can consume, and therefore more politics, and therefore more culture. But this comes at a price. Malcolm Harris, a thirtysomething Marxist writer who grew up there, begins his book by citing the alarming rate at which his high-school classmates committed suicide, and argues that Palo Alto is haunted by the historical crimes on which it is built. He then itemises them across two centuries of history, tracing their influence from Stanford University and Silicon Valley out