Tesla: Man Out of Time

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 2, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 400 pages
12 Reviews
Called a madman by some, a genius by others, and an enigma by nearly everyone, Nikola Tesla was possibly the greatest inventor the world has ever known. He was, without a doubt, a trail blazer who created astonishing, sometimes world-transforming, devices that were virtually without theoretical precedent. It was Tesla who introduced us to the fundamentals of robotry, computers, and missile science and helped pave the way for such space-age technologies as satellites, microwaves, beam weapons, and nuclear fusion. Yet, Tesla still remains one of the least-recognized scientific pioneers in history.
Certainly he was one of the strangest of scientists - almost supernaturally gifted, erratic, flamboyant, and neurotic nearly to the point of madness. A dandy and popular man-about-town, he was admired by men as diverse as George Westinghouse and Mark Twain and adored by scores of society beauties. Yet his bewildering array of compulsions and phobias extended from such mundane subjects as food and clean linen to pearls and women's ears. He was fond of creating violent, neighborhood-threatening electrical storms in his apartment laboratory and once nearly knocked down a tall building by a attaching a mysterious "black box" to its side. ( He claimed he could have destroyed the entire planet with a similar device.) And because he kept so few notes, to this day we can only guess at the details of many of the fantastic scientific projects that occupied this fevered intellect.
Margaret Cheney has written the definitive in-depth biography of this astonishing figure. From Tesla's childhood in Yugoslavia to his death in New York in the 1940's, Cheney both paints a compelling human portrait and chronicles a lifetime of discoveries that radically altered - and continue to alter - the world we live in. Cheney also casts important light on one of the central mysteries associated with Tesla - the whereabouts of the famous "missing scientific papers" that vanished at the time of the inventor's death.

Tesla is a riveting journey into the mind and life of the eccentric wizard who was Edison's enemy, Mark Twain's friend, J.P Morgan's client, and hero and mentor to many of the 20th century's most famous scientists.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rainpebble - LibraryThing

Tesla by by Margaret Cheney; (4*) Genius is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot & most of the time we are just talking about someone who is a bit smarter than the rest of us. But Nikola ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - UberButter - LibraryThing

Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney ★ ★ ★ Tesla was a great inventor and great contributor to modern technology. Yet, he has often been forgotten and slipped through the cracks until the last ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

A Gambling Man
24
Immigrants of Distinction
41
At the Court of Mr Edison
48
The War of the Currents Begins
60
Order of the Flaming Sword
75
Radio
88
High society
104
High Road Low Road
118
The Nobel Affair
252
Flying Stove
262
Radar
273
The Guest of Honor
282
Pigeons
290
Transitions
301
The Birthday Parties
307
Corks on Water
314

An Error of Judgment
129
To Mars
141
Robots
154
Hurler of Lightning
170
Blackout at Colorado Springs
180
Magnificent and Doomed
191
Ridiculed Condemned Combatted
218
The Great Radio Controversy
236
Midstream Perils
246
Cosmic Communion
324
Death and Transfiguration
331
The Missing Papers
343
The Legacy
358
Bibliographical Essay
370
Reference Notes
372
Postscript
392
Index
394
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About the author (2001)

Margaret Cheney is a biographer of unusual versatility. In addition to her two major studies of Tesla (most recently Tesla: Master of Lightning, with Robert Uth), she has written Midnight at Mabel's, a biography of the great cabaret singer and song stylist Mabel Mercer. Cheney is also the author of Meanwhile Farm and Why: The Serial Killer in America. She lives in California.

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