AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War (Google eBook)

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John Wiley & Sons, Jan 6, 2011 - Science - 208 pages
10 Reviews
AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity. But the skirmish soon metastasized into something bigger and darker. In the AC/DC battle, the worst aspects of human nature somehow got caught up in the wires; a silent, deadly flow of arrogance, vanity, and cruelty. Following the path of least resistance, the war of currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. AC/DC serves as an object lesson in bad business strategy and poor decision making. Edison's inability to see his mistake was a key factor in his loss of control over the ?operating system? for his future inventions?not to mention the company he founded, General Electric.

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Review: AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

User Review  - Kyle - Goodreads

Great intro to the topic and it definitely piqued my interest. It moves at a quick speed from one topic to the next and is easy to read. Mostly a summary and not meant as an exhaustive look into any of the main characters or events. I recommend it. Read full review

Review: AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

User Review  - Erika Wagner - Goodreads

Was hoping for more on Edison v Tesla. Got mired down in McNichol's long interlude on Harold Brown's megalomania and grotesque details of the development of the electric chair. Read full review


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About the author (2011)

TOM MCNICHOL is a contributing editor for Wired magazine. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Washington Post, and the Guardian. His radio commentaries and satires have aired on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Marketplace. He’s the author of Barking at Prozac (Crown Publishing, 1997), and his work appears in the anthology Afterwords: Stories and Reports from 9/11 and Beyond (Washington Square Press, 2002).

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