The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures

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Doubleday, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 447 pages
3 Reviews
From the National Book Award-winning author of Slaves in the Family, a riveting true life/true crime narrative of the partnership between the murderer who invented the movies and the robber baron who built the railroads.

One hundred and thirty years ago Eadweard Muybridge invented stop-motion photography, anticipating and making possible motion pictures. He was the first to capture time and play it back for an audience, giving birth to visual media and screen entertainments of all kinds. Yet the artist and inventor Muybridge was also a murderer who killed coolly and meticulously, and his trial is one of the early instances of a media sensation. His patron was railroad tycoon (and former California governor) Leland Stanford, whose particular obsession was whether four hooves of a running horse ever left the ground at once. Stanford hired Muybridge and his camera to answer that question. And between them, the murderer and the railroad mogul launched the age of visual media.

Set in California during its frontier decades, The Tycoon and the Inventor interweaves Muybridge's quest to unlock the secrets of motion through photography, an obsessive murder plot, and the peculiar partnership of an eccentric inventor and a driven entrepreneur. A tale from the great American West, this popular history unspools a story of passion, wealth, and sinister ingenuity.

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The Tycoon and the Inventor: A Gilded Age and the Birth of Moving Pictures

User Review  - Barbara Hoffert - Book Verdict

Originally scheduled for April 2012, this is the story of how photographer Eadweard Muybridge invented stop-motion photography—the first step on the road to motion pictures—when asked by railroad ... Read full review

Review: The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures

User Review  - Kayoc - Goodreads

Interesting, lot of the science behind photography. A bit hard to get through at times though. Timeline jumped around a bit too much. Read full review

About the author (2013)

EDWARD BALL is the author of four works of nonfiction, including the bestselling, National Book Award-winning Slaves in the Family. Born and raised in the South, he attended Brown University and received his MFA from the University of Iowa before coming to New York and working as an art critic for the Village Voice. He lives in Connecticut and teaches writing at Yale University.

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