Reviews

The following are independent unsolicited reviews of The Universal Machine. You can read customer reviews on amazon.com here.

By Mario Aoun for the Association of Computing Machinery
"This interesting popular science book sheds light on important works and key figures in the world of computing...The book considers the history of CS with speculations on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. It is unique in considering the history of computing from its early notions up to its latest forecasts, with no gaps in between. Such coverage does not exist in the current computing history literature. The author offers plenty of information and facts that are usually difficult to find or not easily accessible in existing computing books, journals, encyclopedias, and biographies.Read more...

By Brian Clegg for Popular Science
"I found it absolutely fascinating, from one of the best section’s on Babbage’s work I’ve ever read, through the development of the electronic computer, into PCs and the web... On the whole, the historical content was at just the right level - enough to keep you interested without getting overwhelmed... The Universal Machine is a great way to get a real feel for where the machines that are at the centre of so many of our lives.Read more...

By Mike Rees for the British Computer Society
"...it appeals to a wide audience, and at over 350 pages there is something in here for anyone who has the vaguest interest in a history of computers including the internet, some of the major pioneers and some of the companies that have risen (and in some cases, fallen) along the way." Read more...


By Paul Ducklin for Naked Security
"As soon as I'd finished it, I found myself wanting to read it again. So I did." Read more...

By S. M. Frey for Choice, Vol. 50 (7), March, 2013 (paywalled)
"Watson ... traces the history of computing from Babbage's difference engine to the monolithic computers of the 1950s, to PCs and Macs, to mobile technology... The work is heavily illustrated with ... photographs of people, machines, and simple diagrams... structured as an encyclopedia with brief essays of up to 2,000 words on topics arranged thematically into 14 chapters... provides an easily accessible big picture of computing history that is both comprehensive and introductory. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers.

By Let's Compare Options for Amazon
"..the "history" goes back to the Middle Ages, but brings us right up to everything from dedicated embedded to universal multis and beyond. NOT a dry read -- fun, carries the reader along, and if you've got a few years behind you as I do, will elicit a smile at where we've been as well as where we're going. After all, there really was no web in 1985, so many people alive today saw nearly the entire evolution of the modern computer age!... This awesome book adds back the wonder. 
Highly recommended even as a plane trip or late night substitute for your favorite novelist. Some of the info really is eye opening, as in, "Did you know that..." with your friends on Facebook." Read more...

I gave a radio interview about the book to Kim Hill on New Zealand National Radio that you can listen to here.