Tubes by Andrew Blum

98%

18 Critic Reviews

Given the obscurity and density of the subject matter, Mr. Blum tells a good yarn, but his infrastructure-centric approach has some serious limitations.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

“Andrew Blum plunges into the unseen but real ether of the Internet in a journey both compelling and profound….You will never open an email in quite the same way again.”
—Tom Vanderbilt, New York Times bestselling author of Traffic

In Tubes, Andrew Blum, a correspondent at Wired magazine, takes us on an engaging, utterly fascinating tour behind the scenes of our everyday lives and reveals the dark beating heart of the Internet itself. A remarkable journey through the brave new technological world we live in, Tubes is to the early twenty-first century what Soul of a New Machine—Tracy Kidder’s classic story of the creation of a new computer—was to the late twentieth.

 

About Andrew Blum

See more books from this Author
Andrew Blum is a correspondent at Wired magazine and a contributing editor at Metropolis. His work has also appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times, Business Week, Slate, and Popular Science, among many other publications. He lives in New York City.
 
Published May 29, 2012 by Ecco. 306 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, History, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Tubes
All: 18 | Positive: 18 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on May 01 2012

A fascinating and unique portrait of the Internet not as "a physical world or a virtual world, but a human world."

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Jun 19 2012

What truly animates Mr. Blum, however, and what makes “Tubes” more than an unusual sort of travel book, is his sense of moral curiosity that tips over into moral outrage.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Iain Morris on Jun 17 2012

But he saves some of the best for the final chapter, describing his attempts to explore the vast data centres run by the world's internet giants.

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by Evgeny Morozov on Jun 08 2012

Given the obscurity and density of the subject matter, Mr. Blum tells a good yarn, but his infrastructure-centric approach has some serious limitations.

Read Full Review of Tubes | See more reviews from WSJ online

NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by NPR on May 31 2012

In Tubes, journalist Andrew Blum goes on a journey inside the Internet's physical infrastructure to uncover the buildings and compounds where our data is stored and transmitted.

Read Full Review of Tubes | See more reviews from NPR

The Economist

Excellent
Reviewed by The Economist Newspaper on Jun 23 2012

Mr Blum's book is an excellent guide for anyone interested in how the global modern electronic infrastructure works.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Boyd Tonkin on Jun 23 2012

In the meantime, even the most geek-wary of readers will enjoy its high-definition snapshots from the borderlands between fluid data and fixed locations; those eerie liminal sites right on "the seam between the global brain and the geologic crust".

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Jonathan Liu, on Jun 06 2012

...“Tubes’’ uncovers an Internet that resembles nothing so much as a fantastic steam-punk version of itself. At a handful of central Internet exchanges, technicians roam acres of router racks, literally stringing cables between banks and Internet service providers, ...

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Salon

Excellent
Reviewed by LAURA MILLER on May 27 2012

So ingeniously beguiling is Blum’s way of conveying all this that, before you know it, you have acquired a sense of the basic structure of Internet — from old-school exchanges to fiber-optic regeneration stations.

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New Statesman

Excellent
Reviewed by HELEN LEWIS on Jun 06 2012

But amid all this goggling over fibre optics, the big question raised by the book hangs nervously in the background, waiting its turn. It never comes.

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Book Forum

Excellent
Reviewed by David Auerbach on Aug 07 2012

...is an entertaining travelogue that takes him through these sites—from Silicon Valley conference rooms to Oregon datacenter warehouses to ships laying underseas cables—in search of the physical places that create the virtual space we all inhabit.

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The American Book Center Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Jaya Rai on Jun 11 2012

From a layman’s point of view, most of Blum’s writing is simple enough to allow the reader to grasp the intricate and abstract technical concepts.

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Science News

Excellent
Reviewed by Andrew Blum on Jun 16 2012

In this charming chronicle, Blum reveals the inner workings of the Internet — how, as U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska described it in 2006, a “series of tubes” shuttles information via massive hubs in metropolitan areas.

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Broad Street Review

Excellent
Reviewed by TOM PURDOM on Jul 10 2012

Tubes should be required reading for all the ultra-vocal Utopians who think everything on the Internet should be free.

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Mother Jones

Excellent
Reviewed by Alyssa Battistoni on May 28 2012

But ultimately he comes around to the obvious: that the true vitality of the web depends on the people who inhabit it.

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Ars Technica

Excellent
Reviewed by Cyrus Farivar on Jun 19 2012

Still, Tubes is a great, playful, wondrous read—particularly for someone like me who self-identifies as a “wanderlust geek”—for those of us that aren’t network engineers.

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Wharf

Excellent
Reviewed by Giles Broadbent on Jun 25 2012

There should be a word for it - there probably is - but I'm going to plump for a phrase instead - total immersive reading.

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Entomology of a Bookworm

Good
Reviewed by y Kerry M on Jun 05 2012

Tubes is fascinating reading for anyone with even a passing interest in the Internet...

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