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Seventy-five years after his death, Thomas Edison remains a fascinating personality in U.S. history. He was a figure of many contradictions. A prolific inventor, he would abandon projects when his interest flagged but stick stubbornly to others beyond a reasonable amount of time; he was also a businessman with rather poor business judgment, a distinctive individual who held some obnoxious views, a deaf man who could be cagy and insightful about handling people and the press, and a family man who was for most of his life a solitary figure until befriending many celebrities later in life. Stross (business history, San Jose State Univ.; Steve Jobs and the Next Big Thing) comes to this complex person with a singular purpose. He wants to credit Edison "with another, no less important, discovery related to celebrity that he made early in his own public life, accidentally; the application of celebrity to business." In successfully accomplishing this objective, he earns this title a place on the shelves of all large collections and history of science collections. Readers desiring a more thoroughgoing picture of Edison are better served by Neil Baldwin's Edison: Inventing the Century.
—Michael D. Cramer