By Michael S. Malone
St. Martin’s Press, $25.99, 304 pages
MIchael S. Malone’s The Guardian of All Things relates the epic story of human memory, from its earliest form in cave paintings to its most modern form in computers and “cloud” memory. Malone examines personal and societal changes, caused by our transition first from an oral to a written culture and then to a culture of electronic media.
Malone’s chapters on some of the earlier forms of memory, particularly on the Roman oratorical practice are fascinating and easily accessible, even to readers unfamiliar with such system. The second half of the book addresses types of computer memory and its development. Malone is a tech journalist, and it’s shown in this section. Readers who are not tech savvy may be overwhelmed by the load of the terminology in this part of the book, and while the different types of memory are well explained, the names of the many Silicon Valley figures populated the end of the book ran together for such readers. Also, without a firm grounding in technology, the readers may need to frequently refer back to the earlier sections of the book to keep the types of memory straight.
Reviewed By Katie Richards
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