In spite of new scientific developments, the De Forest three-element Audion continues to remain the foundation on which all modern communications and electronics rest."" At the turn of the century, De Forest and his work was so far ahead of his contemporaries' ability to comprehend that he came very close to being convicted by a Federal Court of charlatanism in 1913. This was only one of the harassing incidents in the long life (1873-1961) that interrupted the career of a great inventor. He was not a great businessman nor did he have free-flowing foundation money to turn on and off as fast as his ideas came. The sections of the book that lead the reader through De Forest's inventive career in radio and telephonic transmission as well as in sound films and TV are written with brisk clarity. Unfortunately, in dealing with the childhood years and his private life the author is less successful -- attributing stereotypical emotions and facial expressions to the subject which deaden De Forest's itality on these pages.