Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P. T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison

( 11 )

Overview


In 1903, on Coney Island, an elephant named Topsy was electrocuted, and over the past century, this bizarre, ghoulish execution has reverberated through popular culture with the whiff of urban legend. But it really happened, and many historical forces conspired to bring Topsy, Thomas Edison, and those 6600 volts of alternating current together that day. Tracing them all in Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison, journalist Michael Daly ...
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Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison

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Overview


In 1903, on Coney Island, an elephant named Topsy was electrocuted, and over the past century, this bizarre, ghoulish execution has reverberated through popular culture with the whiff of urban legend. But it really happened, and many historical forces conspired to bring Topsy, Thomas Edison, and those 6600 volts of alternating current together that day. Tracing them all in Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison, journalist Michael Daly weaves together a fascinating popular history, the first book on this astonishing tale.

At the turn of the century, the circus in America was at its apex with the circuses of P.T. Barnum and Adam Forepaugh (or 4-Paw) competing in a War of the Elephants, with declarations of whose pachyderms were younger, bigger, or more “sacred”. This brought Topsy to America, fraudulently billed as the first native-born, and caught between the circus disputes and the War of the Currents, in which Edison and George Westinghouse (and Nikola Tesla) battled over alternating versus direct current.

Rich in period Americana, and full of circus tidbits and larger than life characters—both human and elephant—Topsy is a touching tale and an entertaining read.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781482101232
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


MICHAEL DALY has been a newspaper journalist and columnist for many years, currently with the New York Daily News. He is the author of The Book of Mychal: The Surprising Life and Heroic Death of Father Mychal Judge about his friend, an NYFD chaplain who died on 9/11. In 2002, Daly was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. He lives in Brooklyn.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Topsy is a brilliant book. The subject matter is totally enthral

    Topsy is a brilliant book. The subject matter is totally enthralling. Author Michael Daly displays mastery of the written word as he brings the circus animals to life. The text is rich in history. Highly recommended.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Michael Daly definitely knows how to tell a story. I loved Topsy

    Michael Daly definitely knows how to tell a story. I loved Topsy from start to finish. It's an amazing story told in an exciting way. Great stuff!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 23, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved this book. I found the subject matter fascinating. Plus

    I loved this book. I found the subject matter fascinating. Plus it is told in a well written fashion that makes it easy to follow and enjoy.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    Zero rating. Educate yourselves and read about Tesla and elephan

    Zero rating. Educate yourselves and read about Tesla and elephants.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Moonstar to below

    YOU IMPOSTERER!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    You wanted to talk to me in private?

    Moonstar

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 3, 2013

    A sad history of animal cruelty.  It was difficult to get throug

    A sad history of animal cruelty.  It was difficult to get through this book, because the author did such a good job vividly portraying the human arrogance and cruelty toward elephants, which are intelligent, empathetic animals. It broke my heart as they were torn from their mothers as calves and "trained" through beatings and deprivation. What makes me sadder is the uncomfortable thought that we still may not have learned to be better one hundred-plus years later. We still have instances of confining intelligent animals - whether they be elephants, orcas, or apes - in the name of profit or scientific research. This is a well-written book that makes us ponder whether we truly have progressed as human beings.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Electrifying (puns are allowed here)

    Written like a fast-paced thriller, this account of Thomas Edison's feud with every other budding electrician shines a light on a variety of issues, such as the plusses and perils of competition in a capitalist market, the maltreatment of animals in captivity, and the problematic aspects of using experimental test subjects (animals) who are unable to give consent. I have already recommended this book numerous times, and will continue to do so.

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Not for the squeamish.

    I really love animals so to me this book was disturbing. Of course, it is true and true life is not always pretty. I sure view Thomas Edison in a whole new light. Makes me happy that today we have someone looking out for circus elephants even though I know there are still some mishaps and the animal usually winds up being blamed. As far as the historical value, it hit the mark.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 11 Customer Reviews

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