Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 236 ratings
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ISBN-13: 978-0375507397
ISBN-10: 0375507396
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Empires of Light] provides a wealth of colorful anecdotes and fascinating detail.”
—The Washington Post Book World

“A rollicking story of competitive zeal . . . [the book] delivers richly on its promise: chronicling a vital stage of American progress as seen through the lives of three mavericks.”
—The Wall Street Journal

“Entertaining and informative . . . a lively account of how personal ambitions and hostilities fueled the interaction between science and business during the long War of the Electric Currents.”
—The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Jonnes does a fine job portraying these men against the historical background of the Gilded Age in this engaging, well-documented volume.”
—Chicago Tribune

“[Jill Jonnes] brings [Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse] to life through cumulative biographical detail.”
—Boston Sunday Globe

“A crackerjack account of the race for electrification . . . [Empires of Light] is a story of the collision of business and technology, and Jonnes tells it well.”
—San Francisco Chronicle (Best Books of 2003)

“The electrons fairly leap as Jonnes personifies that high-voltage history with a three-wired account.”
—Johns Hopkins Magazine

“Jonnes re-creates this venomous rivalry in a delightful book that may remind readers of E.L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime. . . . but Empires of Light is no fiction; it’s a meticulously researched narrative in which famous people go baying after an elusive goal: to power cities by harnessing a hidden force wrested from the atmosphere.”
—Discover

“With Empires of Light, Jill Jonnes joins the genre of academicians who truly document for the nation’s collective memory the significant struggles that led to commonplace conveniences of today.”
—The Baltimore Sun

“[Empires of Light] moves seamlessly back and forth in time. . . . Jonnes is a fine biographer and an excellent scientific and industrial historian. She’s done a superb job of telling an important story.”
—Rocky Mountain News

“Fascinating.”
—The Buffalo News

“Jonnes’s book makes us think about the dramatic changes electricity brought.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Compelling . . .Jill Jonnes has delivered an absorbing tale about the advent of the power grid.”
—The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Jonnes lucidly lays out the technical issues, playing plenty of attention to the personalities involved to liven things up for the general reader.”
—Newsday.com

“Jill Jonnes’s Empires of Light is the most exciting science/business adventure to come out in the past decade. Once she gets past the initial discoveries of the properties of electricity, her brilliant storytelling pulls the reader into a gripping, real-life turn-of-the-century tale full of twists, turns, ironies, dirty tricks, breakthrough challenges, accomplishments, tragedies and triumphs.”
—Houston Chronicle

“An amazing book, one so entertaining that i treads almost like a novel . . . a powerful narrative that captures the tension of a time long gone.”
—San Jose Mercury News

“Thoughtful and well paced.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Jonnes serves up plenty of color in an engaging and relaxed style.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A very accessible and informative historical account that will be fascinating reading for a general audience as well as those with a more specialized interest.”
Booklist

“Compelling . . . Like the late Stephen Ambrose, historian Jill Jonnes paints her story with a broad canvas and populates it with titans.”
—BookPage

“A thoroughly engaging and highly informative account of three inventors who pioneered the production and distribution of electricity. Without these three engineers the world would simply not be what we know today.”
—Henry Petroski, author of The Evolution of Useful Things

“Jill Jonnes’ Empires of Light is the captivating—no, let’s say electrifying—saga of the War of the Electric Currents fought at the close of the nineteenth century with typical Gilded Age excess by Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse. From the electrification of J. P. Morgan’s New York mansion to Westinghouse’s subjugation of Niagara Falls, Jonnes explains in human terms how alternating current achieved dominance over direct current, a victory of incalculable importance in the history of the world—and she tells the story with great, at times even macabre, verve, as in her account of the invention of the electric chair and its horrifying first use. Along the way she solves numerous little mysteries of electric power, among them why Broadway became nicknamed ‘The Great White Way.’ ”
—Erik Larson, author of In the Garden of Beasts and The Devil in the White City

Empires of Light is a fascinating and vivid portrait of a tumultuous era. In a fast-paced narrative, Jill Jonnes recreates the personalities, technologies, and corporate intrigues that changed America by—literally—electrifying the nation.”
—Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light

About the Author

Jill Jonnes is the author of Conquering Gotham, Eiffel's Tower, and Urban Forests. She was named a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar and has received several grants from the Ford Foundation. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Chris Sorensen is a veteran audiobook narrator with over 160 titles to his name. He has received three AudioFile Earphones Awards, and his recording of Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix was selected as one of the Best Audiobooks of 2010 by AudioFile magazine. He is a member of SAG-AFTRA and the APA. --This text refers to the audioCD edition.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
236 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2016
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Top international reviews

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 4, 2019
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Bondi_Dan
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read !
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2018
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Miguel Figueiredo
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting material, but poorly laid out
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 27, 2012
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Turner2
5.0 out of 5 stars Electric History and Intrigue
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2012
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Dion
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 6, 2016
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humberto brito
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelente libro para entender un tiempo muy importante del desarrollo tecnológico que cambio la vida del mundo.
Reviewed in Mexico on January 24, 2018
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enlightening read
Reviewed in Germany on April 4, 2019
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Carnielu
3.0 out of 5 stars One thing that I didn't like was the use of unnecessary flowery words which had ...
Reviewed in Canada on January 20, 2016
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Luke WHA Bridge
5.0 out of 5 stars The epic story of the development of electricity in the world
Reviewed in Canada on November 21, 2013
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Gianluca Scolfaro
4.0 out of 5 stars A briliant novel
Reviewed in Italy on October 19, 2014
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Francis Desjardins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in Canada on July 19, 2017
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Norm
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Reviewed in Canada on January 9, 2016
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Potyguara
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever!
Reviewed in Brazil on March 19, 2019
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jjmartinelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in Canada on August 24, 2015
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amey
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in India on May 23, 2017
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