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

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John Wiley & Sons, Jan 6, 2011 - Science - 208 pages
4 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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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

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jcovington - LibraryThing

This book is priceless. History comes alive in this wild tale of electical standards. Edison comes to life in all his stubborn glory. Tesla shines and Westinghouse lurks in the background. Plus, Edison electrocutes an elephant. Something for everyone! Read full review

Contents

II
5
III
13
V
25
VII
55
IX
69
X
87
XI
107
XII
129
XIV
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XV
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XVI
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XVIII
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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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