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Alfred Nobel: A Biography

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Overview


The only full-length biography of the founder of the Nobel Prize.

Few documents have had a more enduring influence on our century than Alfred Nobel’s last will and testament, for these handwritten sheets established the most coveted and prestigious awards on earth. The Nobel Prizes represent glory and world stature, and are the stuff of immortality. Yet the man whose name they bear has been lost to near obscurity. As Kenne Fant shows in this fascinating biography, Alfred ...

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Overview


The only full-length biography of the founder of the Nobel Prize.

Few documents have had a more enduring influence on our century than Alfred Nobel’s last will and testament, for these handwritten sheets established the most coveted and prestigious awards on earth. The Nobel Prizes represent glory and world stature, and are the stuff of immortality. Yet the man whose name they bear has been lost to near obscurity. As Kenne Fant shows in this fascinating biography, Alfred Nobel’s life contained fierce and troubling paradoxes. He invented dynamite and revolutionized the technology of destruction, yet his dreams of a disarmed world inspired him to create the Nobel Peace Prize.

One of the most powerful men of his time, Nobel was viewed by some as the model of success and entrepreneurial drive; to his workers, he was an enlightened and scrupulously honest employer in an age of heartless exploitation. Others, however, blamed him for the accidents caused by his inventions and labeled him the “merchant of death.” Victor Hugo called him “Europe’s richest vagabond” because he moved about too restlessly. Harassed by imitators, sycophants, and frauds, and struggling continuously with bureaucracies and patent offices (only Thomas Edison surpassed him in the number of patents obtained), Nobel was often desperately lonely.

Making extensive use of Nobel’s letters and writing, Fan’s portrait reveals Nobel in all his aspects—industrialist, pacifist, arms manufacturer, and poet—and does full justice to a compelling and visionary figure whose name will resonate for generations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“An extraordinary story . . . Alfred Nobel emerges as a remarkable man.” —New York Review of Books
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Swedish industrialist and chemist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), the inventor of dynamite and founder of the prestigious prizes, is seen as a secluded misanthrope prone to melancholy and convinced of life's absurdities in this gracefully written biography by Swedish actor/director Fant. Of special interest here are excerpts from the committed bachelor's unpublished letters to his Austrian mistress, a coquettish flower sales clerk named Sofie Hess. Having met her when he was 43 and she 20, Nobel vacillates in the course of their 18-year correspondence between fatherly tenderness, sexual desire and patronizing attempts to remake Sofie into a cultured sophisticate. His lonely life was punctuated by tragedies. His brother Emil, a lab worker, died in an explosion and his unscrupulous French business partner, Paul Barbe, killed himself. But perhaps the greatest tragedy was that this shy pacifistic introvert believed that the creation of weapons of mass annihilation would make wars impossible forever. (Oct.)
Booknews
Translated from the 1991 Swedish work (Norstedts Forlag, Stockholm), this biography draws on Nobel's writings and extensive correspondence (including 20 letters to his brother that were previously unavailable). Fant's portrait reveals Nobel in all his aspects--industrialist, pacifist, arms manufacturer, poet, and benefactor by last will and testament. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781628723267
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/5/2014
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 387,393
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Kenne Fant has directed and acted in Swedish films and is the author of a novel based on the life of Raoul Wallenberg. He and his wife life in France and Florida.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Nikki

    My bf wont andwer fast takes like 5 mni

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