David's Reviews > AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

AC/DC by Tom McNichol
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's review
Mar 20, 2011

really liked it

Much of AC/DC is a discussion of the life of Thomas Edison. McNichol’s tells the story of how Edison started with little in the way of support but built up a lifetime of achievement by invention. His poor hearing partly encouraged him to work in the Telegraph office (he could hear the clicks but not be disturbed by others talking) and to invent the phonograph. The sparks really started when he got investors interested in supporting his electric light developments, an effort that took far longer than he originally told the investors. The book shows how Edison could not get his mind around AC power and was therefore convinced that DC was the way to power the world, one square mile at a time. Nikola Tesla is portrayed as a slightly insane, but absolutely brilliant, technical genius who invented the AC electric induction motor. McNichol’s points out that George Westinghouse turned to developing AC power partly because Edison had the lock on all the DC power generation patents. Lots of good stuff in this book and I give it a good read.

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