In November 1999, at the height of the e-commerce gold rush, an extraordinary hearing took place in a Los Angeles courtroom. On one side, the billion-dollar darling of Wall Street, eToys.com, the brain child of Toby Lenk, one of the hottest entrepreneurs of his generation. On the other side, etoy.com, a group of cutting-edge European artists, hungry for fame, who used the Internet as their canvas.
The ensuing battle sharply focused attention on the conflict at the very heart of the Internet: was it for the joy of the many or the exponential profit of the few? Was cyberspace a revolutionary public space or was the new frontier an extension of the shopping mall?
Through the story for the Toywar, Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler weave the history of the seven years that changed the world forever. In 2000, as the on-line world went into melt down, what would be more valuable and enduring, a ten billion dollar corporation created by the best American entrepreneurs or a chaotic art project by a group of anarchic European rebels?
Reviews of Leaving Reality Behind
‘Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler explore how far the early utopianism has survived the frenzied commercialism of the past decade…the book is a sober yet engaging account of the forces that meshed in those crazy times.’ New Statesman
‘The real success of LEAVING REALITY BEHIND is the way the authors develop the parallels between the antagonists; the similarities of rhetoric and delusion. That an absurdist critique of capitalism could so perfectly mirror what is supposedly satirised should have given both sides pause for thought… Accomplished, assured, fascinating and provocative – a model of reportage.’ Scotland on Sunday
‘The authors convey with subtle power the extent to which etoy and eToys mirrored each other… captures so well the spirit of liberation and adventure, the frontier mentality, the characterised the early days of the Internet. It also serves as an apt summary of the hubristic fantasies of the e-commerce visionaries. This books tells an important story, and is absorbing as a well-crafted thriller.’ Financial Times
‘Thoroughly researched and reported.’ New Scientist
”It should do for e-commerce what ‘No Logo’ did for global capitalism – well researched and fascinating stuff. Oh yeah – the good guys win.’ Flux Magazine
‘This book recaptures the excitement of those heady days and the thrill of the new.’ Spectator