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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The not instant story of instant photography, January 26, 2007
By 
Fairleigh Brooks (Louisville, KY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It (Hardcover)
Across America and the developed world the name Polaroid remains familiar. Over a certain age the product identification of Polaroid Land Camera has recognition. But among that older group, probably not one in ten will know that the Land part of the product name was the name of the man who invented the cameras. More to the point, the man who envisioned the concept of instant photography and worked for decades to invent instant film. Who founded a company during the Depression unlike any other in America. Who was second only to Edison in the number of patents he held. Who was a true American icon.

Edwin Land played a large part in his own anonymity. He valued his individual privacy only slightly less than his family's, about which he was adamant. He sought the limelight, or at least accepted it, only to promote his inventions at crucial moments.

Peter Wensberg tells this sometimes technical story with the skill of a novelist, with a structure that evokes from the reader a genuine excitement about a man who not so much discovered the future as he did imagine it, and then invented it. Wensberg compellingly gets us inside Land, to whatever extent that was possible, to illustrate a true genius driven to go forward, leaving behind the beaten path, or indeed any path at all.

In Land we see the familiar pattern of genius, of people like Linus Pauling or Richard Feynman - an early identification of their quest, a self confidence both underlying and overriding, and the implicit knowledge that the quest will not be had within convention. Just as important, Wensberg gives an account of Land's technology that illustrates the decades of hard work that go into the consumer technologies we take for granted.

Land, though often reticent and inaccessible, inspired men, and very early on women. He caused people to leave good jobs for the opportunity to work for his unique company. He got from people far more than they thought they could give, and often in an astonishingly short time.

Land pioneered fair wages and equal treatment at a time when people would take any job at any pay under any conditions. His defense work in World War II saved countless lives. He committed his company to diversity long before that notion reached a level of political necessity.

This is a story about an American at his best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Photographic memories, November 19, 2007
This review is from: Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It (Hardcover)
This is the story of a creative genius, his unorthodox approach to science and business, and the singular company that grew from his vision, told by a writer who worked for and with Edwin Land over two and a half decades. While many folks (instantly) recognize the name Polaroid, fewer remember the inventor of artificial polarizers and instant photography, fewer still that Land ranks second only to Edison in patents granted. Wensberg's tale grows from Land's earliest research -- carried on sub rosa in Columbia University labs by the expedient nighttime use of fire escapes and unlocked windows -- to the triumphant defeat of Kodak, sixty years later, in patent litigation that froze the film giant's instant photo effort like a mammoth pushed into a glacial crevasse. Along the way he describes a company that embraced affirmative action a decade before the Federal government considered the idea, designed factory machinery with an eye to the pleasure of the intended operator, and let every employee participate in the self-invention of an industry.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Calabro was more than first employee, November 23, 2010
This review is from: Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It (Hardcover)
Nice to see Ernest Calabro get some recognition for his work with Land, however the true story can be told by Helen D. Calabro his wife who know how Ernest kept Land afloat when his dad cut off his allowance because he dropped out of college. If you check the pattern office you will see Ernest invented the laminating process as well as recieved the E award for excellence by the Army for his invention of the Halogen lights that were used on jeeps and the night vision googles used by soliders. I would like to see this author go back and continue this story. Land is creadited with having the most US patterns held, but most were obtained from men like Ernest Calabro.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How it all started, October 10, 2014
This review is from: Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It (Hardcover)
The reason why I love this because it is apart of my family history, along with Massachusetts, and how the company started out! My Grandfather is featured in it too! Excellent book about the history of a local company!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Story of Edwin Land and Polaroid, March 1, 2013
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This review is from: Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It (Hardcover)
Land comes in a close second to Thomas Edison as the Greatest American Inventor. This is the story of the man, the inventions, and the company he founded. You will not regret reading this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Land's Polaroid, February 16, 2013
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This review is from: Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It (Hardcover)
This is a great book for any one wanting information about the Polaroid Brand and the man who invented it
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed, But Not Enough Coverage of Final Years, November 28, 2011
By 
J. Torrey (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It (Hardcover)
I became interested in this book after reading an article in which Steve Jobs referenced Edwin Land's style for introducing new products. Outside of that, it was a good read on its own in learning about the man and the formation of the company. It definitely became apparent, though, that Land was focused on developing his company around a technology (polarization of light) as opposed to a product, category, or ecosystem. And it's this focus on technology that drove the company into the ground as his products did not evolve.
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Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It
Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It by Peter C. Wensberg (Hardcover - Sept. 1987)
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