Edison

Edison

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

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.

Title:Edison
ISBN:9780812993110
Format Type:

    Edison Reviews

  • Faith

    I do not agree with the decision to present Edison’s life in reverse chronology. Maybe I’ll try another biography some day. ...

  • Patricia Romero

    Edmund Morris is the author of the three Theodore Roosevelt biographies as well as the really good Ronald Reagan one. I am very sad to say he passed away just this past May.Thomas Edison was a driven ...

  • Lynndell

    More than just an inventor!Thanks to Amazon Vine, NetGally and Random House Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Edison by Edmund Morris.This eight hundred page book is an interesting rea...

  • Camille Calman

    I received free uncorrected proofs of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I had previously read and enjoyed one of Edmund Morris’s books on Theodore Roosevelt, so I was confident that I would en...

  • Rich Gatlin

    Edmund Morris has an uncanny ability to put you in the world he's writing about. I'm a huge fan of his Roosevelt biography, so I was very excited to receive this book from Goodreads as an advance copy...

  • Craig Pearson

    Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. This is a very detailed look at the life and foibles of Thomas Edison. Most people know only general facts of Ediso's genius, s...

  • Annette Geiss

    A comprehensive tome on Thomas Alva Edison. Admittedly, I skimmed much of it, as it is so filled with exhaustive accounts of him and his life. I learned copious details about this rare genius of a man...

  • Karen Troutman

    I received this book as an electronic resource from Net Galley Noted: I am not a great history buff. For the true follower of Edison this would be great book. I however, found it exhaustive and skimme...

  • Anne Morgan

    Thomas Alva Edison, known today primarily as the inventor of the lightbulb, spent his life researching, experimenting, and inventing devices in nearly every scientific field available to him over the ...

  • Casey Cep

    I reviewed this biography of Thomas Edison for "The New Yorker." You can read the review, which takes into account some other writing about him, here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20......