The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

McNichol, Tom

(Book - 2006)
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
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.
Publisher: San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass, c2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0787982679
Characteristics: 198 p. ; 24 cm.


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Oct 18, 2014
  • StarGladiator rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

If you want to read an outstanding, fantastically-written book on this subject [the battle of AC/DC or between Edison and Tesla/Westinghouse], read the historian, Jill Jonnes' book, Empires of Light. If you want to read a poorly written book, filled with the author's suppositions and opinions substituted for sourced fact, then waste your time on this book, which wasn't worthy of publication! [I doubt this author even began to comprehend Tesla's brilliance!]

Dec 15, 2010
  • daymakerdave rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. The battle between George Westinghouse and Tomas Edison was shockingly (no pun intended) gruesome! Electrical con-men, spies, torture dead dogs and one famous elephant which helped create the electric chair. I can't say that the writing is all that great but the facts it presents are astonishing.


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