Donald Knuth made an emotional argument against this trend last May in his Stanford Kailath lecture Let's Not Dumb Down the History of Computer Science. If you can find an hour, this is a video well worth watching.In the January CACM Thomas Haigh gave his thoughts in The Tears of Donald Knuth. Haigh argues that Knuth conflates the History of Computer Science with the History of Computing. Haigh says that historians focus on the latter and the History of Computer Science doesn't get enough emphasis.
Let me mention two recent examples in that History of Computing category. The Imitation Game give a great, though slightly fictionalized, portrait of the computing and computer science pioneer Alan Turing focusing on his time at Bletchley Park breaking the Enigma code. Walter Isaacson, whose histories of Franklin, Einstein and Jobs I thoroughly enjoyed, writes The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution which tells the stories of computers from Ada Lovelace to Google (oddly stopping before social networks).
But what can we do about the History of Computer Science, particularly for theoretical computer science? We live in a relatively young field where most of the great early researchers still roam among us. We should take this opportunity to learn and record how our field developed. I've dabbled a bit myself, talking to several of the pioneers, writing (with Steve Homer) a short history of computational complexity in the 20th Century and a history chapter in The Golden Ticket.
But I'm not a historian. How do we collect the stories and memories of the founders of the field and tell their tales while we still have a chance?