Geeks by Jon Katz
How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet out of Idaho

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Jesse and Eric were roommates in the tiny town of Caldwell, Idaho, nineteen-year-old working class kids eking out a living with their seven-dollar-an-hour jobs selling and fixing computers. College was never in the cards. Their families had been torn apart by divorce and hard times, separation and illness. They had almost no social lives, and little to look forward to. They spent every spare cent on their computers, and every spare moment on-line.

Jesse and Eric were proud geeks— suspicious or disdainful of authority figures, proud of their status as outsiders, fervent in their belief in the positive power of technology. They'd been outsiders as long as they could remember, living far from the mainstream of school or town life. Nobody spoke for them, they were on nobody's social or political agenda.

Geeks is the story of how Jesse and Eric—and others like them—used technology to try and change their lives and alter their destiny. They rode the Internet out of Idaho to Chicago, a city they had ever set foot in, seeking the American Dream, a better life. Geeks describes this brave and difficult journey, as two self-described social misfits use the resources of the Internet to try to construct a new future for themselves, escape the boundaries of their dead-end lives, and find a community they could belong to.

Geeks explores a growing subculture about which many of us know little, a world with its own language, traditions, and taboos. In telling the stories of Jesse, Eric, and others like them, Geeks is a story about the very human face of technology.

About Jon Katz

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Jon Katz has written twenty-five books, including works of nonfiction, novels, short stories, and books for children; he is also a photographer. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Rolling Stone, and the AKC Gazette and has worked for CBS News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He lives on Bedlam Farm, in upstate New York, with his wife, the artist Maria Wulf, and their dogs, donkeys, barn cats, sheep, and chickens.
Published April 18, 2000 by Villard. 256 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Along the way there are spirited discussions aplenty of intellectual property rights, the geek take on Columbine, the geek role in building a world that makes possible the invasive information-gathering geeks detest.

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Publishers Weekly

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While the bulk of the book has broad social and educational implications (concerning the fate of bright kids who don't come from socially and educationally privileged backgrounds), it is a highly personal tale: Katz takes us inside the lives of these two young men, shows us their sense of isolati...

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BC Books

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In Geeks, Jon Katz has written a powerful, moving story with two unlikely heroes who call themselves geeks.

Sep 22 2005 | Read Full Review of Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode...

Austin Chronicle

Jon Katz is the kind of phlebotomist Keith Richards might take a liking to -- trained to extract, he instead winds up injecting.

Feb 25 2000 | Read Full Review of Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode...

When Dailey applies to the University of Chicago against considerable odds, Katz pleads his case to the dean of admissions, and whenever the reporter visited Chicago, he writes, "I took [Dailey] and Eric out for meals that included vegetables."

Mar 08 2000 | Read Full Review of Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode...

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