Exploding the Phone

  • by Phil Lapsley
  • Narrated by Johann North
  • 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Before smartphones, back even before the Internet and personal computer, a misfit group of technophiles, blind teenagers, hippies, and outlaws figured out how to hack the world’s largest machine: the telephone system. Starting with Alexander Graham Bell’s revolutionary "harmonic telegraph", by the middle of the 20th century the phone system had grown into something extraordinary, a web of cutting-edge switching machines and human operators that linked together millions of people like never before. But the network had a billion-dollar flaw, and once people discovered it, things would never be the same.
Exploding the Phone tells this story in full for the first time. It traces the birth of long-distance communication and the telephone, the rise of AT&T’s monopoly, the creation of the sophisticated machines that made it all work, and the discovery of Ma Bell’s Achilles’ heel. Phil Lapsley expertly weaves together the clandestine underground of "phone phreaks" who turned the network into their electronic playground, the mobsters who exploited its flaws to avoid the feds, the explosion of telephone hacking in the counterculture, and the war between the phreaks, the phone company, and the FBI.
The product of extensive original research, Exploding the Phone is a groundbreaking, captivating book.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

a really interesting and curious book

I'm partially sighted and grew up knowing geeky kids like the ones written about here so i totally got that. I'm somewhat geeky too so learning about the developement of the US phone network and the ways that curious people found to circumvent it was just so interesting. I've no interest in legal back and forth though it's a necessary part of the story being told. It's just not something i care for.

Johan North is outstanding and should do loads of books. His calming delivery is not without a hint of mischievousness and would be perfect for reading something like a Bill Bryson book.
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-07-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios