The Pretenders is an autobiographical novel. Told through the adventures of Joel Kramer, it is the story of tens of thousands with degrees in history, English, communications, psychology and other disciplines who worked in high tech and who unintentionally became pretenders. They lived through, contributed to, and helped create the history of the computer industry.
As a personal story, the book chronicles Joel’s life from the time he met Julie, the love of his life, through grad school, military service, and a 38 year civilian career spent principally in high tech marketing, sales, and business development.
Joel’s military service was similar to that of hundreds of thousands of men and women who took their turn standing on the wall during dangerous times. In their own way, each contributed to the defeat and ultimate break-up of the Soviet Union and the winning of the cold war.
As a history of the computer industry, The Pretenders chronicles the dramatic changes in computer technology from the days of the mainframe to the forerunner of cloud computing.
As a history of our times, The Pretenders records events from the days of JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis through the great national nightmare of Vietnam to 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
The Pretenders is history as seen by an everyday participant in those events. It is the story of all who have struggled, experienced tragedy and joy, and lived through what have been, as the ancient Chinese curse says, “interesting” times.