The students in Alan Rosenblatt's course, The Politics of Cyberspace (GOVT464), at George Mason University are required to read my book (how great is that?) and to write a review of it. Follow the 'reviews' links on their individual course home pages to see what they thought.
The choices were Buy It, Try It, or Skip It, and CNET says...
A Featured Book!
Not a review of the book, but a review of this home page? Go figure!
Read a review of my book from iWORLD Weekly.
The Hill on the Net: Congress Enters the Information Age - ****
Chris Casey, Sen. Ted Kennedy's former technology policy advisor and the current advisor of the Senate Democratic Technology and Communications Committee has written a fascinating look at the impact of the Internet on American politics. The Hill on the Net is not a simple collection of political links, but a true insider's look at the wiring of Congress. Casey starts with C-SPAN, the TV network that brought the inner dealings of the Hill into our living rooms and goes all the way to the 'net's effects on this years campaigns. Along the way Casey presents several entertaining sidetrips, such as mini-profiles of the most digitally competent Congress members (Sen. Exon is not among them). Of course, no book like this would be complete without the filler and how-to's, but there's more wheat here than chaff. The Hill on the Net is a joy to read for both veteran 'net users and Ludite political junkies.
Internet Underground magazine, July 1996
Publishing The INTERNET POLITICAL REPORT is like opening an AP bureau in Philadelphia circa 1770 and taking on the job of covering the Western Hemisphere. There's too much going on for us to cover everything, our sources for reliable information are limited, and our beat is changing as fast as we can learn about it. But our frustration is accompanied by the excitement of writing about history as it is being made.
Chris Casey is one of the people who have made the history of the Internet. Hired to run the all-Mac computer system in Senator Ted Kennedy's office, he proceeded to put the Senator online, eventually making Kennedy the first Senator with a Web site. Along the way, he and his allies dragged Congress into the Information Age, overcoming the Capitol Hill bureaucracy and the rivalries between Republicans and Democrats, between House and Senate, and between technophiles and technophobes.
In this book, Casey takes us on a journey -- from the Dawn of Time for Internet politics (three years ago) when the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call mentioned plans for Congress to connect to "a nationwide communications network called INTERNET" -- through the e-mail pilot program involving seven Members ("Congress's Mercury astronauts in cyberspace") -- all the way up to Ron Wyden's 1995 Senate campaign, which used the Internet to break an unprecedented string of GOP victories.
Along the way we learn about pro- and anti-Internet politicians, about "domain-nameism" and funny e-mail addresses and the Lair of Slop hoax, about the spamming of Congress, and about Casey's famous sig. A story that could easily bog down in details about ftp and legislative mark-ups is told with humor and with an awareness that Internet pols are making up the rules as they go along.
The story of Casey's effort to bring current technology to Congress is one I can relate to. I was writing for a small daily newspaper in 1981 when I was hired as a Senator's press secretary. On my first day in Washington, I arrived at work early and the receptionist showed me to my new office. Eager to start, I asked her, "Where's my word processor?" She pointed to a typewriter.
I soon learned that it was against Senate rules for a press secretary to have a computer or even a dedicated word processor, even if he or she brought one in from home. To get the rule changed, my office teamed up with a couple of other Senate offices, one of them Senator Kennedy's.
The lesson I learned from the experience was this: If you want an innovative, dynamic, creative society, the last place you want to look for leadership is to the political class in Washington -- Chris Casey & Company notwithstanding.
Steven J. Allen
The Internet Political Report
I'm halfway through your new book and wanted to let you know I appreciate it -- slams to GOPers aside (not that I'm one of them, but fair's fair). I just looked up my representative's home page, which wasn't there about a month ago. The parade marches on, I guess. Anyway, great book so far; I'm looking forward to the finish.
It was with interest that I read Chris Casey's The Hill on the Net. Casey is a senate staffer who has been one of the protagonists in the story of getting congress to use email, the web, and other internet services.
The book is easy to read; I found myself having trouble putting it down. Don't expect deep analyses about how the control of information interacts with the power structures in Congress, but do expect insightful and interesting stories (the tongue-in-cheek "cost/benefit analysis" of expanding Senate internet access on page 165 was one of my favorites).
The book is partisan at times (Casey will criticize members of all parties for their internet missteps, but in some cases he is significantly harsher than others), but I did not find this to dominate the book's content.
So I recommend the book as a readable narrative of the history of getting the congress on the net as well as a guide to more practical concerns (for example, "what happens to email which I send to a congressmember?").
Amateur Space Policy Analyst
There are few things in Washington better than having a source at ground zero. Chris Casey is that inside source, providing a humorous, sometimes frustrating, but always fascinating look at what it has taken to drag the U.S. Congress - kicking and screaming - all the way into the age of the Internet. Riding this roller coaster with Casey you will shake your head, and sometimes your fist, at our nation's most powerful lawmakers. And in the end you come away believing that at least a handful of those lawmakers have a clue about a communications medium that is constantly helping shape our nation and may one day actually play an important part in helping to increase the dialog between the citizenry and those that write the laws.
Brock Meeks, Chief
A readable and important practical guide to how Congress got onto the Net and on the consequences for future high tech linkages with the House and the Senate. The Hill on the Net is a valuable and unique contribution to an understanding of how the 'wired' Congress works.
Dr. James Thurber,
The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
American University, Washington, DC