Select language, opens an overlay
The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti

The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti

IBM, the CIA, and the Cold War Conspiracy to Shut Down Production of the World's First Desktop Computer

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The never-before-told true account of the design and development of the first desktop computer by the world's most famous high-styled typewriter company, more than a decade before the arrival of the Osborne 1, the Apple 1, the first Intel microprocessor, and IBM's PC5150.
The human, business, design, engineering, cold war, and tech story of how the Olivetti company's first desktop computer, the P101, came to be. Within eighteen months it had caught up with, and surpassed, IBM, the American giant that had become an arm of the American government. Secrest tells how Olivetti made inroads into the US market in 1959 by taking control of Underwood of Hartford CT as an assembly plant for Olivetti's own typewriters and future miniaturized personal computers. Within a week of the purchase, the US government filed an antitrust suit to try to stop it. In 1960 Adriano Olivetti died suddenly of a heart attack; eighteen months later the young engineer who had assembled Olivetti's team of electronic engineers was killed in a suspicious car crash. The Olivetti company and the P101 came to an insidious and shocking end. -- adapted from jacket
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2019
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780451493651
Characteristics: 304 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 18, 2019

I began reading this because I recall that the Olivetti PC had been much superior to IBM's PC, but gave up after page 95 - - too many inaccuracies, and on pp. 90 and 95 I reached my nausea limit when the author claimed that the CIA's James Jesus Angleton had been America's greatest counterintelligence officer and blah, blah, blah!
What claptrap! Angleton was a complete and total screwup who never caught a spy in his incompetent life.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at SMPL

To Top