LEAVING REALITY BEHIND

(4th Estate / Ecco Press)

In November 1999, at the height of the e-commerce gold rush, a hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom wrenched open the fault lines that ran through the Internet. On one side, eToys.com the billion-dollar darling of Wall Street, the brain-child of Toby Lenk, one of the hottest entrepreneurs of his generation. On the other side, etoy.com, a group of bleeding edge European artists, hungry for fame, who used the internet as their canvas. The struggle between them became known as the Toywar.

It 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 commerce-free public space, or was the new frontier an extension of the shopping mall?

Through the gripping narrative of the battle Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler weave the history of seven years that changed the world forever: the conflict at the birth of the web; the invention of search engines; the battles over domain names and the discovery of the glittering promise of online retailing when the capital markets left reality behind.

As the real-life thriller of the Toywar came to its climax, the online world went into meltdown. After the crash in 2000 what would be more valuable and enduring; an eight billion dollar corporation built by America's brightest businessmen or a chaotic art project created by a group of award-winning European rebels?

Reviews

"The best book yet about the dot-com years shows how the battle between etoy and eToys.com encapsulated the idiocy -- and the idealism -- of that weird era." Salon

"An insightful recent history of the New Economy. Anyone with a pulse should read it." Austin Chronicle

"Accomplished, assured, fascinating and provocative â 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

"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 authors of "Leaving Reality Behind," Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler, skillfully retell the events ...Fast-paced and energetic.... What makes the book especially worthwhile is its attention to the cast of characters who laid the original Internet rails. " San Francisco Chronicle

"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

"With extensive and entertaining firsthand accounts, Wishart and Bochsler reveal how the dot-com boom warped the perceptions of artist and corporate executive alike. " Publishers Weekly

"There are some thriller touches to this book, its an exciting story. Front Row, BBC Radio

"With extensive and entertaining firsthand accounts, Wishart and Bochsler reveal how the dot-com boom warped the perceptions of artist and corporate executive alike. " Publishers Weekly