- Series: Ohio
- Paperback: 271 pages
- Publisher: Orange Frazer Pr Inc (September 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1882203135
- ISBN-13: 978-1882203130
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Grand Eccentrics: Turning the Century : Dayton and the Inventing of America (Ohio) Paperback – September 1, 1996
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From the Back Cover
"Grand Eccentrics... a delightfully entertaining six-way biography of men whose talents and vision fundamentally changed the world. Bernstein's subjects are a colorful (and sometimes just plain odd) collection of self-made individuals whose contributions were astounding. In Grand Eccentrics Bernstein offers a look back at a time of breathtaking change wrought by exceptional minds. RECOMMENDED."
-- Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Turn-of-the-century Dayton was an extraordinary place, filled with people who could exercise an enormous impact on the nation and the world. For those who doubt this, I recommend Grand Eccentrics, a fascinating account of an unconventional group who helped to shape the history of the 20th century."
-- Tom D. Crouch; Senior Curator, Aeronautics
National Air and Space Museum
"It's a wonderful book!... a tour de force."
Professor George Knepper [Author: Ohio and Its People]
University of Akron
About the Author
Mark Bernstein is an author and magazine writer with particular interests in American biography, and social and technological history. Born in Chicago, he lived for 30 years near Dayton, Ohio, and moved to Silver Spring, Md., in 2004.
His most recent work is "McCulloch of Ohio: For the Republic" , a full-length biography of the Republican congressman who led bipartisan efforts to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act and 1968 Open Housing Act.
His previous work includes "John J. Gilligan: The Politics of Principle" [Kent State University Press, 2013], the first full-length biography of the Ohio's transformative governor and the state's most significant post-World War Two Democrat; "World War II on the Air" [with Alex Lubertozzi and Dan Rather; Sourcebooks, 2003], an account of Edward R. Murrow and the CBS radio coverage of the European Theater, complete with a 55-minute audio CD of classic broadcasts; and "Grand Eccentrics" [Orange Frazer Press, 1996], a group biography of such turn-of-the-century inventors and entrepreneurs as the Wright Brothers, Charles Kettering and others.
Two of his works, "Grand Eccentrics" and "Wright Brothers' Home Day Celebration, 1909" are among the 70 books listed in the bibliography of David McCullough's New York Times #1 best-seller, "The Wright Brothers" .
He has been an on-camera participant in "Ohio at 200" , Ohio's official state bicentennial documentary produced by Florentine Films and "Million Dollar Idea" , a Smithsonian Institution television documentary series on American inventors. He has given 75 book talks and 120 radio interviews.
His 100 magazine articles have appeared in Smithsonian, Smithsonian Air & Space and American Heritage of Invention and Technology and he has been contributing editor to both OHIO magazine [thrice named the nation's best regional magazine] and of World Trade Magazine.
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Much of this book is spent talking about John Patterson, the former head of NCR (known as National Cash Register in those days), and his business practices and personal conduct that thrust him into the national spotlight. The Wright Brothers also get extensive coverage in this book, with Bernstein talking about not only the invention of powered flight, but also the personalities that made the Wright Brothers unique. You complete your reading feeling like you know about them as people and not just as two guys who were good mechanics.
Bernstein includes many black and white photos throughout the book, showing some of the factories, the people, and the inventions that put Dayton, Ohio, on the national map. He doesn't include any color photos. He gives the book an historic feel by including photos exactly as they were taken in the early part of the twentieth century.
Dayton, Ohio is still known by many as the birthplace of aviation. But it was also a hotbed of other activities and inventions. Author Mike Bernstein explains these complex men and the ambition and drive that propelled each of them to national prominence. These men were all unique and important to the progress of mankind. But most of all, they were "grand eccentrics"- men who were out of the ordinary and who didn't allow conventional thinking to stand in the way of innovation. This book describes them well, showing how the combination of determination and zeal led these inventors to accomplish so many great things.
The book accomplishes that all-too-rare feat of really making historical figures come alive by incorporating historical fact and detail in both a comprehensible story, but also a human and entertaining one. Mr Bernstein has a real eye for that telling detail that offers insight (often humor) and turns facts into a picture of a remarkable time and era. Reading Grand Eccentrics helps the reader see both the grand achievements and the human, happenstance, luck and challenges of the times, not to mention the quirks of personalities that both open and close doors for these remarkable figures. Steve Jobs stands in a long line of grand eccentrics--key players in the shaping of our country, then and now!