• $14.99

Publisher Description

The gripping history of electricity and how the fateful collision of Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse left the world utterly transformed.

In the final decades of the nineteenth century, three brilliant and visionary titans of America’s Gilded Age—Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse—battled bitterly as each vied to create a vast and powerful electrical empire. In Empires of Light, historian Jill Jonnes portrays this extraordinary trio and their riveting and ruthless world of cutting-edge science, invention, intrigue, money, death, and hard-eyed Wall Street millionaires. At the heart of the story are Thomas Alva Edison, the nation’s most famous and folksy inventor, creator of the incandescent light bulb and mastermind of the world’s first direct current electrical light networks; the Serbian wizard of invention Nikola Tesla, elegant, highly eccentric, a dreamer who revolutionized the generation and delivery of electricity; and the charismatic George Westinghouse, Pittsburgh inventor and tough corporate entrepreneur, an industrial idealist who in the era of gaslight imagined a world powered by cheap and plentiful electricity and worked heart and soul to create it.

Edison struggled to introduce his radical new direct current (DC) technology into the hurly-burly of New York City as Tesla and Westinghouse challenged his dominance with their alternating current (AC), thus setting the stage for one of the eeriest feuds in American corporate history, the War of the Electric Currents. The battlegrounds: Wall Street, the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Niagara Falls, and, finally, the death chamber—Jonnes takes us on the tense walk down a prison hallway and into the sunlit room where William Kemmler, convicted ax murderer, became the first man to die in the electric chair.

August 19
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

AlyTheH3dg3hog ,

Very good

I got interested in the topic of Westinghouse and Edison after seeing the movie The Current War. I thought this book was really good for explaining some of the context of the events of the movie, as well as expanding on the actual events of the World’s Fair, Electric Chair, and Niagra Falls Power Company.

rzpitt ,

Interesting look

We hear a lot about Edison when it comes to electricity - but maybe not enough about his more obsessive and icky side. This book is great at showing the huge contributions Tesla and Westinghouse made to modern electricity. It also brings the cult of Edison worship down to Earth. Good read.

Jay and Silent Me ,

Doesnt work

I want my money back

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