During the first half of the 1980s, I put out these four books about computers, all written on my primitive little Apple II computer, which had been given to me by Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer. CoCo Logo is an introduction to programming for the TRS-80 Color Computer. Intelligent Schoolhouse is an edited collection of writings about computers in education; Genesis II is an introduction to how computers are being used in the creative arts—including games. Big Things from Little Computers is an introduction to personal computers.
From 1969 to 1971, I worked as an attendant in a large psychiatric hospital in California. The experience helped introduce me to “mad” people and their often distinctive inner experiences. Interested in the inner and outer worlds of mental illness, then, I familiarized myself with autobiographical accounts written by people who were mental patients or officially determined to be “mad” by their societies—covering everything written in English, or translated into English, from the 15th century to the present. The result of all that reading was this history of madness and psychiatry as told largely in the words of the patients themselves, covering a period of five and a half centuries.