Sophistication & Simplicity

Just over twenty years ago, the final part of the Apple II History was uploaded to the A2 Roundtable on GEnie. From a series of newsletter articles explaining the various models of Apple II computers released by Apple, it had evolved into a much longer work, that also delved into the Disk II drive, DOS, ProDOS, software, peripherals and other hardware, and many other topics. These articles were written to be available to reprint in newsletters for Apple II user groups around the country (and eventually around the world), and in general was well received.

In all the years since the release of the original version of the History it has become a much more polished document, and one that better tells the story of how the Apple came about, evolved, and affected the company which produced it. I have also learned more of the story of what happened after 1995, when a combination of a hard drive crash on my IIGS and lack of functioning backup discouraged my further participation in the Apple II community for several years.

As I’ve made revisions and corrections to the chapters over the years, I have had many who have wanted a print version of the History. For a while I resisted these suggestions; my thought was that since it had been online for so long and continued to be available on web pages, why would anyone want to buy a book? Regardless, the requests continued to appear at times.

So, for the past year, I have been working on revisions and updates to the history, and a re-ordering of the information to be able to offer it as a book. The result is the best version of the History than I’ve ever had, and with the rising interest in retrocomputing in general, the time is opportune to produce a print book.

I am pleased to announce that I have a publisher. Variant Press of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has agreed to print the Apple II History as a book. Entitled Sophistication & Simplicity: The Life & Times of the Apple II Computer, the book is scheduled to be available in April 2013, running over 500 pages. It will have the text of the Apple II History as found on this web site, including some revisions not posted here, many of the pictures that appear here in the various chapters (as well as a few not found on the web site), and include a never-before-released chapter dealing specifically with KansasFest and the Apple II story in the years after Apple abandoned the platform.

Variant Press has previously published the story of Commodore, in Brian Bagnall’s book, Commodore: A Company On The Edge, and plans to continue that story with Commodore: The Amiga Years (to be released in the summer of 2013). Variant has also published books on Lego Mindstorms programming.

The cover has not yet been finalized, but when there is more information I will post it. It will be available through Amazon and other book retailers. We are also looking into creating a digital book version as well.

14 Comments on “Sophistication & Simplicity

  1. Congratulations! See, I knew you’d be able to find a publisher! 🙂 Can’t wait to buy it.

  2. Nice! I love history and have read some other Apple II “history books” (mainly for the company). FYI – as I write for “Retrogaming Times Monthly” – I wrote a note and linked to the A2-Central announcement. So, you may get some additional readers who see this. 🙂

  3. I will keep a dedicated place in my Library for this publication. With a special dedicate for its author.

    Beyond expectation…….


  4. The books are on pre-order status, free place is already available on my Apple II library shelves , and now all is beyond expectation …….


  5. I’ve been a follower of the ‘Apple II History’ files since 1991, when our local BBS sysop grabbed them from GEnie and made them available for download.

    Honestly, it’s what got me started in vintage computer collecting! It was just so well presented and written, it just drew me in. Been wishing there was a published book version of it for the past 22 years, so you can guess how quickly I ordered a copy!

    I’m eagerly awaiting to read it again, and this time around I now have a literal Apple II museum by my side to accompany it.

  6. I had a an apple II e back then. Now is history. Like this book. I´m looking forward to buy it even the commodore 64 and amiga. The apple II e was the best computer at the time.

  7. Hi there, will your book be published soon ? I reservd it on Amazon but still no news and it was listed as April 1st publication ?!?!
    I truly hope you’ll manage to proceed soon. Please let me know.

    • Hi,

      The April 1st date was rather optimistic, and we have clearly passed it. But, if you’ve read the other posts I’ve made on this site, you know that it is still coming. I would estimate that we are within 30 days of going to print. So hang on! It will be worth the wait!

  8. I’m sad to report Amazon unceremoniously cancelled my pre-order and refunded my money — “Due to a lack of availability, we will not be able to obtain the following item(s) from your order.”

    • Read my last post, and you will see that despite Amazon’s cancelation, the book is still going to happen.

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