The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.00
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Dust jacket in Has dustjacket condition.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret Hardcover – January 17, 2008

48 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393062069 ISBN-10: 0393062066 Edition: 1st

Used
Price: $4.00
38 New from $3.90 87 Used from $0.01 8 Collectible from $6.09
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$3.90 $0.01
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Hero Quick Promo
Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, January 2008: Seth Shulman closely examines the race to build the first telephone and uncovers potential bombshells with The Telephone Gambit. Although Alexander Graham Bell is widely accepted as the father of the telephone (despite the fact that rival inventor Elisha Gray submitted a similar claim the same day Bell filed his patent), Schulman provides intriguing evidence questioning if the scales were deliberately tipped in Alexander's favor. Was the venerable inventor party to theft from Gray's own research? Or are such accusations merely sour grapes from a bitterly contested legal battle? Fraught with controversy, conspiracy, and possible chicanery, Shulman spins real-life Da Vinci Code drama around one of the most influential inventions of the modern era. --Dave Callanan

From Bookmarks Magazine

In Unlocking the Sky (2003), Seth Shulman showed his knack for historical detection by making credible claims that aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss deserves the same accolades for his work as the Wright brothers for theirs. In The Telephone Gambit, Shulman, who researched the book while a resident scholar in MIT’s Dibner Institute, sets his sights on Alexander Graham Bell. He comes away with a stunning and plausible conclusion as he discredits Bell’s claim to the world’s most valuable patent. Drawing on research from Bell’s own notebooks and other sources, Shulman combines deft sleuthing and a nose for a good story with what every critic except the reviewer for the Los Angeles Times deems lively, compact prose. The Telephone Gambit is a necessary addendum to textbook history.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Shop the new tech.book(store)
New! Introducing the tech.book(store), a hub for Software Developers and Architects, Networking Administrators, TPMs, and other technology professionals to find highly-rated and highly-relevant career resources. Shop books on programming and big data, or read this week's blog posts by authors and thought-leaders in the tech industry. > Shop now

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (January 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393062066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393062069
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Edwin Grosvenor on November 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is well written, like a novel, but it's riddled with errors and omits key facts that are well-known to serious historians of telephone history. Shulman starts out with the premise that Bell stole the patent, and then ignores evidence to the contrary. (Or he didn't research deeply enough to discover even basic facts that contradict his premise).

Rather than steal Gray's idea, Bell had been working on developing the telephone for years. Shulman claims that Bell illicitly saw the patent caveat that Gray filed on Feb. 14, 1876, and copied the drawing of his liquid transmitter. But the historical record shows that Bell drew dozens of drawings of similar-looking liquid transmitters over a span of more than three years before Gray filed his caveat. (These are in the Library of Congress and many can be seen in Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisha_Gray_and_Alexander_Bell_telephone_controversy#Bell.27s_background_and_use_of_liquid_transmitters

In one of the most obvious errors, Shulman was apparently unaware that Bell applied for a patent for a primitive fax machine in 1875 and the application included a drawing of liquid transmitters. The U.S. Patent Office approved Bell's patent with the liquid transmitter ten months before Bell allegedly stole the idea from Gray. (The drawing for patent #161739 is online at the Patent Office.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey M. Musser on January 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished reading "The Telephone Gambit" by Seth Schulman. This is the first book that I have sat down and read in one day since my September vacation. I know nothing about Seth's other books and can't comment on the caustic review by zzoott (River Styx, OH, USA)

I was drawn to this book by the review in the Boston Globe on New Year's Day. [...]

I previously worked for the "other" telephone company. I worked at GTE Labs in Waltham, MA (what remains is now Verizon Labs). In the summer time in the late `80s we usually had summer students join us, and I often gave a presentation on the history of the Telephone. . In fact one of my vugraphs (we didn't have PowerPoint then) is the same photo shown by Seth on page 61, the tangle of telegraph wires in 1870.

I bought in to the story that "Elisha Gray was an hour late filing his patent; that Bell got there first. It now is embarrassing to say that I bought in. This was a research lab and we all used scientific principals and investigative techniques to do our work. So how could I buy in to a difference in filing time being the reason? We all knew that the American patent system is "the first to discover" not "the first to file" as is most of Europe. After all, that is why we all kept Lab notebooks detailing our work, notebooks that were signed, dated and witnessed every day to prove when we had discovered.

As a result I found Seth Schulman's detailed account of the Bell patent extremely exciting. He meticulously lays out all the circumstantial evidence indicating something really smells about the process that granted the Bell patent over the Gray patent.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ILAN VARDI on July 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This entertaining book ends up being somewhat disappointing, mostly due to the author's lack of understanding of the ways of the world, in particular, the prevalence of "pseudo-history" in science. He doesn't understand that a bit of historical research leads to understanding that the common view is wrong, and that those who have done that work have realized it all along. I can imagine him writing a similar book about Steve Jobs when, after doing enough research, he is disillusioned to discover that Jobs did not invent the personal computer nor the windows interface. Of course, any nerd knows that Steve Jobs' contributions were not personal technical invention.

Similarly in this book, the author highlights "his" discoveries leading to uncontested proof that Bell's first telephone communication was directly lifted from Elisha Gray's caveat and that this mischief was either done directly by Bell or by his lawyers. While his gradual insight makes for entertaining reading, it seems that every single piece of evidence was not only known beforehand but was presented in testimony at trials regarding the validity of Bell's priority claim. The author simply comes to the conclusion which is inevitable to anyone having studied the evidence.

One can cite numerous other examples where most people, including most scientists, believe something is true but which historians know is false. My own personal discovery was finding out that Copernicus was not the first to propose that the Earth went around the Sun, that his model was inferior to Ptolemy's and that it set Kepler back in his search for laws of planetary motion. The recent book "Celestial Mechanics, The Waltz of the Planets" is the most recent work I've read which gets almost every detail wrong in recounting the pseudo-history.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: conevery valencius