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Ballpoint: A Tale of Genius and Grit, Perilous Times, and the Invention that Changed the Way We Write Paperback – August 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0982578117 ISBN-10: 0982578113 Edition: Reprint
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Ballpoint: A Tale of Genius and Grit, Perilous Times, and the Invention that Changed the Way We Write + The Incredible Ball Point Pen: A Comprehensive History & Price Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) + The Ultimate Book of Pens
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mr. Moldova tells this tale of ingenuity and disappointed hopes with considerable verve; his book is a page-turner." -- The Wall Street Journal

"Fascinating. . . . [Ballpoint] cleverly traces the squiggly road of two men . . . who struggled, at first as partners and later as rivals, to invent, manufacture and profit from this most quotidian of writing instruments. . . . There's a deliciously voyeuristic feel to this fast-paced . . . work, as if you're eavesdropping on a family conversation."
--Winnipeg Free Press

"In terms of history-making inventions, the ballpoint pen is no electric light bulb, but its story is far wilder."
--Maclean's

"Ballpoint reads like a fast-paced mystery. Although we know from the start that its technological protagonist--the ballpoint pen--will triumph, we find ourselves repeatedly surprised by the story's unfolding episodes of international intrigue, financial deception, and legal shenanigans."
--Henry Petroski, author of The Pencil and The Essential Engineer

"Part biography, part historical novel, this fascinating book tells the remarkable story of László Bíró and Andor Goy, the two Hungarians who made the first workable ballpoint pen and who, despite the resounding success of their product, earned almost nothing from it."
--John Emsley, author of Molecules of Murder and The Elements of Murder

"The tale of László Bíró and Andor Goy . . . is a wonderful illustration of the role that human passions, foibles, and genius play in shaping the world around us."
--Robert Friedel, author of Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty

About the Author

György Moldova is one of Hungary's most successful -- and prolific -- writers, and he is respected in particular for his achievements on the nonfiction front. He has earned the Kossuth Prize, Hungary's most prestigious literary honor, and his work has been translated into many languages, including English, German, Russian, and Chinese. He is the only Hungarian author to have achieved sales of 600,000 copies, and he continues to fare well in the country's bestseller lists to this day. Born in 1934, he lives in Budapest with his family. The author lives in Budapest.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Europe Books; Reprint edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982578113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982578117
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A3 on January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
ENJOYED the book maybe because I'm fascinated by pens. I collect ém. Not the expensive stuff but Biros, BICS, Uniballs ...
I've always taken the ballpoint for granted, so it was poignant to read how much the inventors went through and how little they got out of it. Made me angry at the people who cheated them. But it helped put a perspective on things. I work in design and years back, after I was retrenched, my partner stole my idea, entered it for an award - and won, and got a better job. He didn't even credit me. So reading about Biro & Co gave me a better appreciation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Szerb I'm Tall on December 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Ballpoint is a super book to read on a Kindle or portable device. It is one of those wonderful short books that reveals a lot about a period in time through the telling of a specific invention, in this case, the ballpoint pen. At times it reads like a WWII spy novel. It is hard to believe what inventor Laszlo Biro went through in order to accomplish his goal of saving his family from the clutches of the Nazis. It took all his ingenuity not only to invent the most-used pen in history, but to survive. Concise, frustrating, and ultimately inspiring, Ballpoint is history in a pen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kapic on December 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first time I've read Moldova and was a bit disappointed. The story seemed never really took off. It seemed flat and seemed absent of the detail of the development of the ball point pen. I expected more of the technical problems but instead, we get the inventors personal problems. I enjoyed the story but would have given a better rating had it had contained a bit more tension.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beaumont Vance on January 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It sounds like a dull topic but it is a great example of the vicissitudes of invention. If you like the stories about inventors, then you will love this book. Very we'll written and grippingly told.
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By Raul on September 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book was well written. It give sufficient information to keep my attention. I would recommend this book to others.
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