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Edison: His Life and Inventions: The Complete Work Including a Bonus of a Fully-formatted, Detailed List of All 100 of Edison's United State Patents from 1868 - 1909. (Timeless Classic Books) Paperback – August 13, 2010
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About the Author
Frank Lewis Dyer was the General Counsel for The Edison Laboratory and Allied Interests. Thomas Commerford Martin was the Ex-President of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.
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It appears, however, that the text has been somehow electronically transcribed for this book. There are a few typo errors, here and there, such as dashes or commas for no apparent reason. However, this in no way distracts from Edison's intriguing life experiences and story flow.
This book does a good job of explaining Edison's personality, and a great job of explaining his achievements. The book is obviously carefully researched, and demonstrates a deep technical understanding of Edison's inventions. Thomas Edison was a prodigious inventor and a symbol of the American entrepreneurial spirit. His influence on the 20th century through the electric light, the phonograph, and his other inventions truly transformed the American experience. The book is well written, and I enjoyed reading it, and a reader looking for an understanding of Edison's inventions will not be disappointed. The Kindle edition of this book is very good!
Commissioned by Edison himself, as a tool for his self-promotion, this nonetheless very informative and useful biography was written by Dyer (an Edison patent attorney) and Martin (a technical magazine publisher and editor). It was written when Edison was 63 (he lived to 84, dying in 1931). Although the book could rightfully be called a panegyric, with little criticism of Edison, that is not to say that it is without value. Although a biography, it is not an introspective work, and at its conclusion, one is unlikely to feel that he "knows" Edison as a person. Although capably written, the writing isn't likely to blow you away. Also, since it was written relatively early in the "electrification" phase of history, it is not able to put Edison's work and achievements in historical context, as a more modern work would. Finally, there is no mention made of the AC vs. DC controversy, and only the briefest of mentions is made of his significant rivals, such as Westinghouse and Tesla. However, to be fair, this book is subtitled "His Life and Inventions", and that's basically what is is about. One advantage of being written "in the moment" so to speak, is that the book conveys scenes from Edison's life with a vividness and immediateness that a later book could not. There are a lot of stories in the book that are quoted directly to the authors from Edison himself. Given the nature of the authors, I would have expected a little more technical explanation in the book. There is some, and there is a lengthy appendix (about 140 pages) which goes into more detail on each of his major inventions. All in all, I liked this book. It tells you what Edison thought was important about his work, and his life. It is part propaganda, to be sure, but it is also factual, at least to the extent I could verify. I have read some of his patents (you can actually get copies), I have even read some of his patent litigation (court opinions). I personally believe that this book was simply part and parcel of the man's life work - a search for truth. Although he became quite wealthy as a result of his productivity, he wasn't nearly as wealthy as he could have been. For example, any inventions he created in the medical field, he simply gave to the public domain. And for some of his major inventions - for example, the incandescent lightbulb - the cost and time it took to fight off patent infringers severely limited his ability to make any money from it. And he usually plowed back into his laboratory most of any profit he made. He simply wasn't that concerned with money, he was concerned with solving problems.