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Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  189 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
"4chan is the Anti-Facebook," a site that radically encourages anonymity. It spawned the hacktivist group Anonymous, which famously defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by bringing down MasterCard's and Visa's Web sites. Created by a 15-year-old wunderkind in 2003, it is the creative force behind "the Web's most infectious memes and catchphrases" (Wired). Today it has ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by The Overlook Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oriana
Aug 29, 2011 Oriana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
review originally written for CCLaP, and also this book wound up on my CCLaP best-of-2011 list.

Okay, let me start by saying that I have never been on 4chan. I know what it is, I know what it does, and I know how it works, I've just never felt compelled to actually slog through it. But that doesn't mean I'm not utterly fascinated by it, and I certainly understand what an awesome (in both senses) cultural force it is, and how it represents everything new and amazing and unpredictable about the tim
...more
Jasmine
Oct 11, 2011 Jasmine rated it really liked it
Shelves: n-a
so I have a good friend I've always thought of as a /b/tard. I don't know if he really is one but he's definitely a professional troll. I know when people think about 4chan they think of child porn, but it's so much more than that. I could tell you but then the review would have to be as long as this book.
else fine
Sep 24, 2011 else fine rated it liked it
Shelves: read2011
Looking for a book, as I was, to explain internet culture to your mom? This will probably fit the bill. Not a lot of new information to anyone who has spent any amount of time poking around the internet, but then that's not why I picked it up. I've seen some valid criticism of this book floating around: large chunks seem cut and pasted, there is little original content, and there is something sort of inherently shitty about someone taking a bunch of free, not for profit content generated by othe ...more
Caryn Vainio
Sep 20, 2011 Caryn Vainio rated it liked it
I went into this book expecting an analysis and history of Anonymous the hacker group, but the book focuses more on a history of internet memes and how they arise primarily from 4chan, Anonymous' home. The book is a great walk down memory lane for anyone who's been on the Internet since at least the 90s, reminding you that sites like Stile Project and Fark were places you used to love visiting. It also reminds you of the sharp delineation between the pre-Facebook Internet, where anonymity was th ...more
Rick
Sep 03, 2011 Rick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
It's interesting, no matter how much you think you keep up on this stuff, there is still more to learn. Cole provides a great primer about Anonymous and 4Chan, and a balanced, fair portrayal of the communities behind it. The history, too, is a good time. A trip down memory lane. BBSes. The Well. Usenet. The good old days? Maybe. Pretty timely book, too, considering all the activity this summer. Cole manages to work in LulzSec and the events with Sony.

My main feeling in reading this was missing
...more
rob
Mar 18, 2012 rob rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
The problem with this book was that it was positioned and marketed as a look deep inside Anonymous. Instead it was a primer on weird web culture for outsiders. There's a place for that, but that's not what I was looking for.
Nathan Spencer
May 13, 2017 Nathan Spencer rated it really liked it
Interesting book
Rachel
As a young person having spent my formative teenage years as a web denizen, and as someone who spends a majority of her time immersed in the unique internet culture, learning about "Epic Win For Anonymous" meant I could find a non-fiction book relevant to my interests, on a subject both familiar and foreign to me. I heard about the book from the author himself on the website Reddit--thus, I was in the key demographic.

I am, admittedly, a terrible reviewer. I am notoriously easy to please; I recom
...more
Rod Hilton
Jan 13, 2012 Rod Hilton rated it liked it
It's a book about 4chan. In a way, it's a fantastic book, because if you want to read a book about 4chan, this is pretty much the only game in town. In another way, it's a book about 4chan.

The title implies it's about capital-A Anonymous, the semi-political group of scientology protestors/internet freedom fighters that grew out of 4chan and, while the book does cover that, that's only a very small portion of the entire book.

Most of the book is devoted to the formation of 4chan, it's history root
...more
Garryg
Mar 12, 2012 Garryg rated it really liked it
I can see why some people have given this book five stars, and I can see why others have given it two. I’ve had the occasional peek at 4chan, but never really got into it. Then again I’m not the target 4chan demographic.
As far as the book goes I’d say it was one of the most interesting non-fiction books I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a few...
I liked its initial explanation of memes and thought this led into the explanation of 4chan very well. I found the whole 4chan thing utterly readable and int
...more
Krista
Apr 29, 2014 Krista rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction


"Epic Win" is a badly titled book.

It is, in reality, a story of the development of Internet culture, focusing heavily on anonymous social networking (4Chan, Reddit, and others). It discusses the origins of some popular memes and Internet characters, as well as the extent to which their fame penetrated mass media.

The downside, however, is--well, at least three-fold:
1.) For a book about Anonymous, at least 3/4 of the book doesn't have anything to do with Anonymous. The author mentions the differen
...more
Ryan
Sep 25, 2011 Ryan rated it liked it
I've always regarded 4chan as a cesspool of moral depravity where people gather to spread the kind of hate that is so disgusting these they're too afraid to do it in the real world.
I was so wrong. Of course I was; I had only visited the site a few times and never had any idea what was happening before my web-browsing eyes.
I'm not a huge book reviewer so I'll keep this one short. The book's usefulness is in how it familiarizes the outsider with the inside development and happenings of Anonymous.
...more
Amar Pai
Aug 31, 2012 Amar Pai rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Such a lazy, stupid book. I can't believe how little effort went into this. It's just a bunch of one paragraph descriptions of stuff you could google in 10 seconds. There's a chapter that's literally just a list of 4chan topics. Could you get any lazier?

In the introduction, Stryker basically admits this book has the depth of a drained kiddie pool:
4chan is a multimedia experience, and there's only so much information that can be conveyed on the printed page. I highly encourage the reader to read
...more
Karthik J
Nov 27, 2011 Karthik J rated it liked it
The author must have changed the title in the last minute with the massive publicity Anonymous has generated. Most of the book is about 4chan & meme culture and only a chapter is dedicated to anonymous. He tries to go behind the gore and depravity , which has come to define 4chan and tries to explain that all is not evil. I liked the parts of the book which explains events which happened before a decade- Usenets, BBS ,origins of meme culture, eternal september. something aweful and even ED. ...more
Nitho
Aug 17, 2013 Nitho rated it really liked it
I spend a lot of time on the web, but not around 4chan so this was an interesting read. It was a nice way to learn about 4chan’s community without having to go there yourself, risking to become mentally scarred for life. I also wasn’t much on the web in it’s early years (2004-2008), which were well described in this book.
The title was a little misleading, because now Anonymous is no longer associated with the trolls on 4chan and other sites who are raising havoc for the lulz. I guess that is wha
...more
Ben
Sep 29, 2011 Ben rated it it was ok
Shelves: tech, non-fiction
I began reading this book with enjoyment, but after reading a quarter of the book I started to wonder when the subject matter was going start focusing less on 4chan and more on Anonymous. Based on the title, cover, and description of the book I was led to believe Cole Stryker's book was an in depth look at Anonymous. Instead it's a bird's eye description of internet culture as a whole, spritzed with occassional quotes interviews. According to my Kindle, the operations of Anon were not detailed u ...more
Tracie
Sep 08, 2011 Tracie rated it it was ok
It turns out I had no idea what 4chan is, and so this book was pretty interesting to me because it explained it in a really straightforward way. I read this in one day and then spent the evening on 4chan, which was an unavoidable mistake after reading the book. If I'd been more familiar with 4chan, I think the book maybe would have been a little boring, but I guess maybe I'm the audience?

I'm slightly older than the author, so I TOTALLY remember some of the pre-4chan sites he talks about, stuff l
...more
Ian
Feb 14, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it
Very interesting read about the very roots of anonymous. From the beginning of the meme culture to the development and evolution of the 4chan site and finally to the powerful hacktivist group know as Anonymous this book shows how it all came about. With some interviews and opinions f some of the top contributors to the raids performed by anonymous you can really get a feel for why they do things and how the governments and medias over sensationalistion just leads them to wrong conclusions and fu ...more
Carlos Estrada
Sep 11, 2011 Carlos Estrada rated it it was amazing
This book seriously breaks down the stereotypes of who you think go on 4chan's website. Known as the anti-facebook, it's users cherish what everyone call anomity; giving people the freedom to be whoever they want and do whatever they please. This book informs the masses the history of the website, how the words "troll" and "meme" became major internet jargon and the history of Anonymous. This was by far one of the best non-fiction science and technology book I have read about the internet.
John Carter McKnight
Nov 04, 2011 John Carter McKnight rated it really liked it
Need to explain Goatse or "OVER 9000" to your NPR-listening parents? This is the book for you. Stryker leads a general-audiences tour of memes, internet anonymity, pop culture and politics, by way of explaining 4Chan and Anonymous.

This book is a lot better than I expected: historically grounded, insightful, comprehensive, even-handed and fun.
Anthony
Very interesting insight into a subculture I never came had heard of. One of the beauties of my work is that I get to look into many different areas that significantly widen my horizon. I would have probably never ever came across the world this book describes very well... Highly recommended if you want to understand what Anonymous is and how it emerged...
Katie
Nov 16, 2011 Katie marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Boring. Follows the author as he explores 4chan and describes popular sites on the internet. It reads as several Wikipedia articles bound together. It tells nothing of Anonymous, nor how 4chan has "conquered" the web. DNF at 25%.
Brian Gagnon
Good Overview

Good background and overview on this world. Thought the detail of the various websites was helpful. Been curious about anon for a while and enjoyed this eye-opening look.
Tim G
Jul 16, 2012 Tim G rated it it was amazing
The best book of all time, purely amazing and absolutely perfect in every way. Seriously a better book then the bible, quran, and kama sutra combined. I can think of over 9,000 reasons to read it but a mandatory summer reading list ain't one.
Kevin
Aug 29, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As bored as I was with the beginning of the book, I was surprised to find myself entertained by the end of it.

There were a lot of aspects of the book that brought back fond memories for me of my early internet days and it rekindled my love of chan-culture.

It's certainly recommend it to others.
Catfish
Jul 24, 2012 Catfish rated it liked it
Besides clearly breaking rules 1 and 2, the book is a good sociological and historical account of trolling, 4chan, and the popularity of message boards. I sort of hate much about the book but I see that the history is important.
Rob
Nov 18, 2013 Rob rated it it was amazing
5 stars for great justice. Brilliant. Best account of 4chan/b/anonymouse that exists as a mainstream publication. 5 out of 5 would read (this author) again.
ju
Sep 20, 2011 ju rated it really liked it
Горе-долу увлекателна. Предимно за 4chan и по-малко за Anonymous.
nick ruest
Nov 12, 2011 nick ruest rated it really liked it
Seriously in need of fact checking. So *many* simple factual errors in the text.
Daniel
Sep 21, 2011 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really fascinating look at /b/tards, anonymous and meme history.
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