Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius

Overview

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 fthe 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 ...

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Overview

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 fthe 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.

The book is illustrated with sixteen pages of photographs, including the July 20, 1931, Time magazine cover for an issue celebrating the inventor's career.

"Wizard is a truly remarkable biography of a remarkable man. The expression 'ahead of his time' is used too loosely and too often today but in the case of Nikola Tesla 'ahead of his time' barely describes the genius of this man. Marc Siefer makes us understand not only the man but the times in which he lived." —Nelson DeMille, Novelist

"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. . .Seifer provides the fullest account yet of Tesla as an entrepreneur, experimental physicist and inventor." —Publishers Weekly

"The story of one of the most prolific, independent and iconoclastic inventors of this century is a fascinating one. . ..The author presents much new material. . .(and) bases his book on a large number of archival and primary sources. . .Underneath the layers. . .the core of Seifer's book is a serious piece of scholarship." —Scientific American

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Editorial Reviews

Scientific American
The story of one of the most prolific, independent and iconoclastic inventors of this century is a fascinating one. . . . The author presents much new material. . . [and] bases his book on a large number of archival and primary sources. . . . Underneath the layers. . . the core of Seifer's book is a serious piece of scholarship.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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. Based largely on firsthand documents including Tesla's writings, his patents and those of competitors, it credits the Croatian-born Serb, who moved to New York in 1884, with the invention of the induction motor, long-distance electrical power distribution, fluorescent and neon lights, the first true radio tube and remote control, besides making vital contributions to the technology underlying television, wireless communication, robotics, lasers, the facsimile machine and particle-beam weaponry anticipating the space-based "Star Wars" defensive shield. Though often depicted as a recluse, flamboyant nouveau-riche Tesla (1856-1943) lived in Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for two decades, and hobnobbed with architect Sanford White, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, conservationist John Muir, mogul John Jacob Astor III, Swami Vivekananda. Yet the electronic wizard, who competed fiercely with Marconi and with his one-time employer Edison, became swamped in debt, abandoned by a world he helped create, ending his days in seedy poverty, a bitter, anorexic eccentric obsessed with feeding pigeons and avoiding germs. Seifer, who teaches psychology at Community College of Rhode Island, attributes Tesla's downfall partly to his megalomaniacal, neurotic, self-destructive tendencies, partly to a quagmire of litigation and also to his Faustian pact with his ambivalent benefactor, Wall Street financier J. Pierpont Morgan, to whom he relinquished control of several patents. Morgan, suggests Seifer, stymied Tesla's visionary scheme for a global, wireless power-distribution system because, if realized, it would jeopardize electrical, lighting and telephone monopolies. Seifer provides the fullest account yet of Tesla as an entrepreneur, experimental physicist and inventor. Photos. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Nikola Tesla is credited by many as the inventor of radio and should have received most of the credit for the development of modern electricity. Yet there is considerable confusion about his technical contributions and even more about his personal life. This book, by a professor of psychology at Bristol Community College and a member of the International Tesla Society, painstakingly documents Tesla's wide-ranging contributions. Born in Croatia, Tesla emigrated to the United States in 1884 and almost immediately began work on alternatives to what was then accepted as standard electrical technology. This brought him into conflict with Edison and later Westinghouse. The pattern of conflict continued for nearly 60 years, partially because Tesla was far ahead of his time, partially because he was erratic and off-beat, and partially because he was not an astute business partner. Seifer has analyzed extensive sources, many not previously used by other Tesla biographers, to provide a detailed interpretation of his life, but the fact that he also incorporates extensive handwriting analysis to arrive at several of his conclusions will certainly cause some reader concern. For larger science and biography collections.-Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806519609
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 542
  • Sales rank: 208,100
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.84 (h) x 1.15 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2003

    WOW!

    This book gives a complete in-depth analysis of Tesla both the man himself and the times he lived in. How such an intellectual giant has been so completly ignored by history is a horrid loss. If you like facinating material and possess even a passing interest in electricity, radio, or great inventors I must insist you read this book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 26, 2001

    Unspoken Marvel

    Nikola Tesla was truly ahead of his time. This book was one of the best non-fictional books I have ever read. In this book, you find that Nikola Tesla's genius WAS realized. It was the greed and pride of a few, that prevented Nikola Tesla from the credit he deserved and we, as a race, lost a man whose ideas and inventions would have changed the human race for ever.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    Excellent book!

    > Seifer, flawlessly sails through The Life and times of Nikola Tesla,
    > indeed! Chronologically narrating loads of new documents never published
    > before, this book paints structure of society with its players, large and
    > small; gigantic and pitiful souls; creators of colossal failure
    > deliberately maneuvering through dirty political canals to satisfy their
    > miserable, cheap trades. Technical input of author is in perfect balance
    > with original documents, for more would be overdoing since Tesla's papers
    > uniquely tell their own stories. Two pages 406-408, where Tesla through
    > 'technical poetry' in details presents to judge design of his beloved
    > creation with functions, features and benefits to humanity, its
    > Wandercliff Tower for Wireless Transmission of Energy and Broadcasting.
    > Ultimate humanitarian, in the setting of the court, Tesla gives testimony
    > of cumulative mediocre society and his power. This book above all, is the
    > blue print of society's failure to support one of a kind mind for its own
    > benefits.
    >
    > Branka

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

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