After having worked on it for about a dozen years of so (more like fourteen, but who's counting?), my book, In Search of Jefferson's Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace, is finally going to see the light of day some time around the middle of January.
The book has a simple premise: to recreate Jefferson’s analysis of the New World (as he set it forth in his Notes on the State of Virginia) for the "new world" of cyberspace. It sounds pretty outlandish, and I guess it is — but I think it actually works pretty well (though I leave that to you to decide that for yourself). Along the way, we uncover some pretty interesting things about the Internet, and about Jefferson — about network design, Jefferson’s plan for governing the Western Territory, about the protocol stack and the canals of France, about distributed routing, end-to-end design, and the Louisiana Purchase. And about why Jefferson had a moose shipped to him in Paris while he was serving as US minister to France, and why we should care about that.
Early reviews (a.k.a. "jacket blurbs")(including one from the VC's own E. Volokh!) have been pretty complimentary:
“Now and then, ingenious insight yields an authentic work of genius. David Post’s musing about cyberspace, the law, history, and a great deal more has produced such a work, conceived and written in the finest Jeffersonian spirit.” Sean Wilentz, Princeton University, author of The Rise of American Democracy and The Age of Reagan
“Reading this beautifully written and extraordinary work today is what it must have been like to know or read Jefferson then. Post has crafted an experience in understanding that allows us to glimpse the genius that Jefferson was, and to leave the book astonished by the talent this extraordinary writer is.” Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University, author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and Remix
“A fresh, insightful, and eminently readable look at cyberspace policy. It’s surprising and fascinating how much the debates of 200 years ago continue to be relevant today and continue to be echoed today, even in media about which Jefferson and Hamilton could not have dreamed.” Eugene Volokh, UCLA, founder, The Volokh Conspiracy
"Jefferson’s Moose is brilliant - and a joy to read. It is the book of a career: sweeping in scope, without dropping a stitch of detail. No one but David Post could have produced this sparkling analysis of the relationship between the world and worldview of Thomas Jefferson and today’s puzzles of cyberspace.” Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard University, author of The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It
I figure that any book that Sean Wilentz, Larry Lessig, and Euguene Volokh all like must have something going for it . . . I also think that VC readers are pretty much in the bullseye of my target audience — I imagine that there are lots of you who consider yourself serious Jeffersonians out there (and I can promise you all that you'll learn something new about a side of Jefferson you didn't know too much about), and the fact that you're a VC reader probably means you have more than a passing interest in the Internet and things cyberspatial. There's lots of stuff in there to debate and discuss; I'm setting up a book website (now under construction) for that purpose, and I'm genuinely hopeful that the book will help return Jefferson to the center of the intellectual debate about governance and society.
As I mentioned, the book won't be out for another 6 weeks or so, but if you're an early adopter type, you can pre-order it here:
Don't worry — I'll remind you again. :) But I'm looking forward to hearing what you all have to say about the book, and the overall project.
[Thanks to early commenters -- I'll have more to say about how the book evolved over time, and how one writes intelligently about something that changes as quickly as the Internet changes, in future postings. And because it's not clear that the image link to the pre-order page is working properly, here's another, more straightforward bit of HTML code that should take you there:
Related Posts (on one page):
- Obscenity Conviction for Adult-to-Adult Noncommercial E-mail About (Fantasy) Sex With Children:
- And Speaking of My Book:
- Jefferson's Moose Sighting, Washington DC:
- Jefferson's Moose:
- Jefferson and Free Speech:
- Update on Obscenity Conviction:
- More on Obscenity Conviction:
- Obscenity Conviction for Adult-to-Adult E-mail About Sex With Children:
- Buy My Book!!