From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris comes a revelatory new biography of Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific genius in American history.
Edmund Morris is the author of the three Theodore Roosevelt biographies as well as the really good Ronald Reagan one. I am very sad to say he passed away just this past May.
Thomas Edison was a driven man. He was constantly inventing and patenting new ideas or as he would say, he brought them out in the open, they were always there. He had a new invention about every 11 days, with over 1,000 in his lifetime.
Best known for bringing us into the light, he was a man with a singular need to invent, to experiment, to push the boundaries of what was known. He was a man who needed little sleep or food and expected those around him to work the same punishing hours as he did. He did not suffer fools lightly and like a lot of geniuses who are laser-focused on what they see as their calling, his family life suffered.
We see the husband, the father, the friend. A man who was headstrong. He started 250 businesses, so you can imagine he might have been a distant father. He made no secret that he thought his children were lacking in every way.
I have read many biographies of Edison, most of which centered on his works and patents. I don’t think he was a deliberately cold man, he was a man possessed with a need to create, to push boundaries and with that type of mind, relationships and family take a back seat.
The research that went into this work is astounding. This is a book I will have and re-read for a long time.
NetGalley/Random House (October 22, 2019)