qatsi (qatsi) wrote,


Book Review: The Man Who Invented The Twentieth Century - Nikola Tesla, Forgotten Genius of Electricity, by Robert Lomas
I seem to recall several months back there was a call for comments on which historical figure the Doctor should meet. At the time I thought my answer would be J S Bach, but that this would be considered too obscure. However, I think an arguably more obscure and better answer would be Nikola Tesla. In a curious twist, I gave Mrs Q Tesla's own writings for Chritsmas whilst uitlander gave me this biography, which is quite straightforward in style and thorough in documenting Tesla's various discoveries and inventions, all of which he failed properly to capitalise on. There's quite a lot on the "battle of the currents" - Edison and his vested interests didn't want to give ground to Tesla's alternating current system despite its clear advantages in a number of respects. Later chapters deal with Tesla's investigations on high-frequency currents, lightning, radio and wireless power. In some ways Tesla lived the American dream, but in others he really didn't grasp the "Anglo-Saxon" economic model. Lomas repeatedly reminds the reader that apparently outlandish ideas and schemes have in fact come to be implemented, in some cases as much as a century later. The production values of the book are a bit shaky with too many typos in places, but better than not to be in print at all.
Tags: books, history, science
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