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In this post I wanted to capture Tramiel’s sense of drive and how his desires ultimately drove him to try and destroy the company he created. I also wanted to create an impression that Amiga got what they wanted - their machine to be made, but at incredible cost. I also wanted to make the Atari ST more prominent than it usually is in these kinds of writeups.

Due to substack’s limits, I’m going to do a post in two weeks with more resources, links additional credits and corrections but if people want to read more about the original Amiga story, I’d highly recommend:

There are a bunch of talks on YouTube by RJ Mical, Leonard Tramiel, Bil Herd, David Pleasance and Dale Luck etc, but it’s best to treat these as their memories of their perception of events rather than direct sources as dates, events and people are a little muddled in places. I think Bagnall sums it up well when he talks about accuracy being difficult at the start of the Amiga years book.

I really would’ve liked to see a decent book on the original Atari ST history, there’s very little out there about how the ST went down compared to the Amiga and Shiraz Shivji seems to have been very private in general compared to the Amiga team.

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    There’s quite a lot of content on the Amiga history. David Pleasance has two books: Commodore: The Inside Story and from Vultures to Vampires. He was on the sales side, initially for Commodore UK but later worldwide (he did a lot to rejuvenate sales in the US). There’s a great tech history of the Amiga too, The Future Was Here. And the Cloanto emulator bundle has DVDs in the “you paid top dollar” bundle with some contemporary film.

    I don’t really know much about the Atari ST side, having been in the Amiga world since 1992 (I currently have two A1200s, a CD32, and a Vampire V4). I’ve read a history Atari Inc: Business is Fun about the company as a whole (it sounds hellishly like they were the template for all the SV bro companies) but it doesn’t go much into the ST as the most tempestuous history was the 2600/E.T./Chuck E. Cheese era.

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      There’s hardly anything out there about the ST side compared to the Amiga, which is a shame as they must’ve had their share of drama with the lawsuits and Jack Attacks.

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        The one I’ve found, but not yet read, is Faster Than Light: have you read it?

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          I’ve read some of it but what put me off was how it skipped over things I found relevant to Atari at the time. My impression is that it’s more concerned with the development of the technology than the business, which explains the light touch. I haven’t bought it because I’m holding out for something more relevant to the business.

          Also I’m struggling to find out about Irving Gould’s pre-Commodore life - it’s like the guy only existed as a Commodore owner.

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      Would have been nice to credit all the photos you have used.

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        It would’ve been, yes but for two problems:

        1. Crediting a lot of the pictures used is more difficult than you think. The historical pic of Shiraz Shivji used has multiple people claiming it for example. Good luck finding out who owns the Irving Gould picture - in fact there’s very little out there about Gould at all beyond Commodore.
        2. Putting captions on pictures in Substack is impossible - hence the reference (Image above courtesy of Boston-based collector Timothy Colegrove via wikipedia) and it constrains content by HTML length due to it being newsletter driven while giving you no control over the HTML. I had to chop a lot out just to fit things in and every link added means losing 2-3 paragraphs of text.

        I’m doing what I can within the constraints of Substack’s platform. That’s why pretty much wherever I’ve posted this I’ve said that I would do additional attributions, corrections and further resources in the next issue - I can then edit the post and link to the next issue with all the attributions. It’s also why I’ve posted further links to resources I found helpful in this submission.

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          So why post on substack?

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            Because it’s the least worst environment I’ve used that does both newsletters and regular posting in a fairly seamless way. Yes Substack has constraints, but some of those constraints are quite good at keeping me on a regular schedule and keeping the stuff I write under the point where emails would get cut-off or rejected anyway.