History, Reviews, Sociology

Review: Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture

“On first glance, back-to-the-land hippies and dot-com entrepeneurs might not seem much alike,” begins the Publisher’s Weekly review of Fred Turner’s From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, “but it turns out that they have a whole lot in common underneath those scraggly beards and goatees.” The review continues:

Drawing a direct line from dog-eared copies of the Whole Earth Catalog to the slickly techno-libertarian Wired magazine, Stanford University communications professor Turner follows countercultural figures like Stewart Brand, who shaped the information revolution, according to their aspirations to break down the boundaries of individual experience and embrace a larger collective consciousness. … The book shows how the ride of the Merry Pranksters and LSD experimentation led to the early online discussion board Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link (the WELL), and into the digital utopianism surrounding the hyperlinked World Wide Web. Turner offers a compelling genealogy of both the ideals and the disappointments of our digital world, one that is as important for scholars as it is illuminating for general readers.

Read the introduction and an excerpt from Chapter Four, "Taking the Whole Earth Digital.&quot