EDISON by Matthew Josephson

EDISON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here is a well-researched account of the life of one of America's authentic folk heroes--Thomas Alva Edison--an original creator with a genius for strategic invention, who in 1872-3 alone was granted more than 60 patents, and who in his later years had a ""family business"" embracing 30 different enterprises. In this detailed biography, the author tries to sift fact from fable and tells the Edison family story from before Thomas Alva was born in 1847 in Milan, Ohio, to his death in 1931, giving a complete picture of the many phases of Edison's long life in unromanticized, yet often inspiring narrative. Here are the facts of his precocious boyhood, his early years as a wandering telegrapher, as a free-lance inventor, as a pawn in the telegraphy ""wars"" between Jay Gould's Automatic Telegraphic Company and Western Union. We are told of his marriages and family, of his methodical struggle to perfect the incandescent lamp, how he brought electric lighting to New York City, of the patent fights with George Westinghouse and others, of his invention of motion pictures, the phonograph and the refinement of the electric battery, and finally of the creation of General Electric Company. Thoroughly absorbing, this significant volume is a competent contribution to the history of American science, and gives not only a sharply drawn picture of this self-educated giant of invention, but also of the beginnings of the telegraph, electrical, record, motion picture and automobile industries, as well as the sociological changes that were wrought by Edison's practical discoveries. It presents the technical aspects of the inventor's world clearly, without oversimplification, and points out the effectivness of Edison's persistence and ingenuity -- as well as his place in a burgeoning America that canonized him ""the wizard of Menlo Park."" Belongs in every library in both the biography and science sections; and should have good sales as a solid combination of biography, science and Americana.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1959
Publisher: McGraw-Hill