NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris comes a revelatory new biography of Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific genius in American history.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time - Publishers Weekly - Kirkus Reviews

Although Thomas Alva Edison was the most famous American of his time, and remains an international name today, he is mostly remembered only for the gift of universal electric light. His invention of the first practical incandescent lamp 140 years ago so dazzled the world--already reeling from his invention of the phonograph and dozens of other revolutionary devices--that it cast a shadow over his later achievements. In all, this near-deaf genius ("I haven't heard a bird sing since I was twelve years old") patented 1,093 inventions, not including others, such as the X-ray fluoroscope, that he left unlicensed for the benefit of medicine.

One of the achievements of this staggering new biography, the first major life of Edison in more than twenty years, is that it portrays the unknown Edison--the philosopher, the futurist, the chemist, the botanist, the wartime defense adviser, the founder of nearly 250 companies--as fully as it deconstructs the Edison of mythological memory. Edmund Morris, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, brings to the task all the interpretive acuity and literary elegance that distinguished his previous biographies of Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Ludwig van Beethoven. A trained musician, Morris is especially well equipped to recount Edison's fifty-year obsession with recording technology and his pioneering advances in the synchronization of movies and sound. Morris sweeps aside conspiratorial theories positing an enmity between Edison and Nikola Tesla and presents proof of their mutually admiring, if wary, relationship.

Enlightened by seven years of research among the five million pages of original documents preserved in Edison's huge laboratory at West Orange, New Jersey, and privileged access to family papers still held in trust, Morris is also able to bring his subject to life on the page--the adored yet autocratic and often neglectful husband of two wives and father of six children. If the great man who emerges from it is less a sentimental hero than an overwhelming force of nature, driven onward by compulsive creativity, then Edison is at last getting his biographical due.

Similar Books

ISBN 10: 0743264746
ISBN 13: 9780743264747

14 Oct 2008
Walter Isaacson

ISBN 10: 1501139169
ISBN 13: 9781501139161

21 Jan 2019
Walter Isaacson

ISBN 10: 1400077303
ISBN 13: 9781400077304

01 Sep 2004
Ron Chernow

ISBN 10: 0143112449
ISBN 13: 9780143112440

31 Jul 2008
David Nasaw

ISBN 10: 074325807X
ISBN 13: 9780743258074

19 Aug 2004
Walter Isaacson

ISBN 10: 1408810026
ISBN 13: 9781408810026

17 Aug 2011
Toby Wilkinson

ISBN 10: 0670918679
ISBN 13: 9780670918676

17 Jul 2019
Antony Beevor

ISBN 10: 0375707255
ISBN 13: 9780375707254

10 Oct 2006
Steven Watts

ISBN 10: 0805081348
ISBN 13: 9780805081343

03 Oct 2006
Charles R. Morris

ISBN 10: 0812966007
ISBN 13: 9780812966008

01 Oct 2002
Edmund Morris

ISBN 10: 1328505685
ISBN 13: 9781328505682

02 Oct 2018
A J Baime

ISBN 10: 0802144659
ISBN 13: 9780802144652

28 Jan 2010
Ron Chernow