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

Front Cover
Wiley, Sep 18, 2006 - Science - 208 pages
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1
4 stars
3
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - addunn3 - www.librarything.com

Over 100 years ago Edison (DC) and Westinghouse (AC) fought for standards dominance in the electrical generation field. Very interesting read. Edison with the "trial and error" type of inventor while ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - themulhern - LibraryThing

The story is tremendously interesting and the book moves along at a rapid clip. It starts rather earlier, with Leyden jars and Ben Franklin, and finishes up later, with Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. The book is ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2006)

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).

Bibliographic information