I've read a few books about l33t hax0rz; so far, Underground is my favorite. It has short bios of young hackers in the 90s. There were a bunch of networks; there was an Ur-internet rising up above them, but it wasn't there yet. Most of these hackers weren't sophisticated.
Many of them were just explorers. Back then, having access to a computer network was pretty rare. Back then, if you were a credit card company, it made perfect sense to respond to 'pings' on some port by spewing back a list of all your customers' credit card numbers—there weren't many people out there on the 'net; surely none of them were just wandering around pinging random ports... Except that these kids did, and they found some weird stuff.
If you become a criminal hacker, there's a good chance you're crazy. There's various kinds of craziness; some of them make you want to keep using some computer trick you figure out, some trick that might make other people say "Hey, I'm not going to do that; that's creepy and mean." If you become a criminal hacker and you get caught and you're not crazy, that's probably because one of your fellow hackers ratted you out. This is a book about how some enthusiasts dealt with the situation when the police started cracking down on their hobby. In some of these stories, the hackers are bad-crazy and you root for the cops; in other stories, the hackers are harmless, and you root against the cops.
Check it out. You probably won't find a physical copy that you can afford, but it's available for cheap digitally on teh internets.