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This is a very good question! I’m in the UK for a while right now and don’t have access to my home library, so I’ll add to this answer incrementally as I think of more items. However, I also invite all readers of this to provide some of their favorite history sources.
I will confess that I don’t know of a great “master comprehensive” book for the whole field. We should really try to find one — I think it would be of the most use for the Quora audience.
One area to look at is what ACM has made happen in terms of histories.
There are three “History of Programming Languages” books, that cover many of the major ones.
There is a “History of Workstations” book with contributions by many of the major inventors of personal computing.
There is a book of the first 25 Turing Award lectures. The other Turing lectures can be found on the ACM site.
and quite a bit more
I’m not so thrilled about the Computer History Museum time-lines, etc. but they have a lot of stuff. The “Fellows” elected are arguably a more representative list of names for the history of computing since the 50s than the Turing Award. Running down their backgrounds would reveal a lot.
The best book for ARPA-IPTO/Xerox Parc is
“The Dream Machine” by Mitchell Waldrop
Other books I can think of (let’s run down the titles)
Maurice Wilkes’ “memoirs” – includes history of EDSAC
I think there is a book about Konrad Zuse — maybe “the first” modern designer builder
There’s the Atanasoff Berry computer — might have predated Zuse’s
History of Whirlwind
There are a number of pretty good Babbage/Ada histories
More to come … (and let’s have more contributions …!)
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