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Publisher's Summary

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots, and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology. Among Tesla's creations were the channeling of alternating current, fluorescent and neon lighting, wireless telegraphy, and the giant turbines that harnessed the power of Niagara Falls.

©1996 Marc J. Seifer (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Seifer's vivid, revelatory, exhaustively researched biography rescues pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla from cult status and restores him to his rightful place as a principal architect of the modern age." (Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Good but needed better editing

Great material but far too long. Needed tighter editing. Still enjoyed it. Of course Tesla IS a very compelling historical figure...

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Great to learn about Tesla.

Very interesting to learn about Tesla and all his inventions which are still used today.

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A wonderful insight into one of the greatest Minds

A wonderful insight into one of the greatest Minds. Thank you to the author for clinging to the facts.

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phenomenal!

loved it! loved every little detail and letter and insight into this amazing human, Nikolai Tesla.

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An epic tome

Excellent biography on the life and times of Nikola Tesla. I would highly recommend this if you are looking for one biography on this eccentric genius.

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Great narrative history.

A bit long and tedious at times, but a great history and performance. The speculative nature of some of the book simultaneously detracts from the biographical aspect, yet enriches the narrative.

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Very detailed information

This book was good, I learned so much about Tesla that I have never heard. I never learned about him in school or at least AC power and that was it. The book was interesting and kept my attention, but at times drug on and on. I did get this book from Smarter Every Day and I am glad I did so. I am a better man for it. If you thought law suits and lawyers are bad now, there are some crazy ones in this book.

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excellent story of a misunderstood legend

Siefer delivers a concise and entertaining recollection of the life and mystery of Tesla allowing the reader to ultimately decide on what Tesla was really up to over his last decades.

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Good research, poor writing.

Someday, someone will write a brilliant book about Tesla. This isn't it.

Writing is all about choices about what, and what not, to include, and I'm not sure Seifer made any. He tells readers the 1890 address of a building that had since moved, so that if readers should ever be transported back in time, they will know how to find it. He mentions a book in passing and can't help but mention who edited it. I often wondered if there could be any information I would be less interested in knowing.

His subject matter is so intrinsically interesting that it is almost worth the slog. Can you believe Tesla would put on demonstrations showing scientists multiple new technologies, and that he would send electricity through his body so he could shoot fire out his fingertips? The author, unfortunately, often skips the human story of discovery or the motivations for Tesla's rivalries, and goes straight for all the maddening details. Walter Isaacson should take this book as source material and write something good.

I thought I could make it through but I had to jump ship when Seifer refers to woman gushing with hormones just because she walked near Tesla. He never embellishes the facts when discussing men, but for women, he pretends he's writing fiction. Bad fiction.

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  • Jeff
  • Mesa, AZ USA
  • 10-26-16

Excellent book but it drags a little

The book is well written and well performed. If you want to know about Tesla, this covers pretty much everything. That's its strength and its weakness. It got so detailed in a couple parts that it really dragged to the point that I almost stopped listening. However, I'm glad I didn't because once I got past the slow part, it got really interesting again and I learned quite a bit that I didn't know before.