IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 16

Book Review
the vignette that took place when he quit in disgust.
At one point, Tesla was promised a princely sum of
$50,000 for solving a problem that had been vexing
Edison. O'Neill describes what happened after Tesla
solved the problem:
Months later, when the task was finished, ...Tesla
asked for the $50,000. Edison replied, 'Tesla, you
don't understand our American humor.' Tesla
was shocked to discover that what he thought
was a specific promise was being tossed aside
merely as a standard practical vjoke of the day.
He received not a penny of compensation from
the new designs and inventions, or for the tremendous
amount of overtime.... He resigned
his job immediately [1, p. 64].
O'Neill goes on to write, " Now came the most
unpleasant experience of Tesla's life. He was without
a source of income, and from the spring of 1866 to the
spring of 1887 he was forced to work as a day laborer. "
This seems like a basis for enmity to me. Clearly, Morris
controlled the vignettes he put into his book to make it
appear he swept away the conspiracy theories, but, in
fact, he actually just swept them under the rug.
These vignettes are not the only omissions in Morris's
book. For example, he has completely ignored
the subject of long-distance wireless telegraphy,
which is described in Edison's patent U.S. 465,971.
This patent is an icon in the history of wireless
telegraphy before Hertz. Among the 20 or so pages
on wireless telegraphy in the Dyer biography, Edison
described how he using two balloons raised to
100 feet to reached a distance of 2½ miles, which
was a record for the method of electric-field induction.
The antenna configuration was essentially the
same as that used by Marconi, who actually bought
Edison's patent to prevent it from falling into mischievous
hands. None of this appears in Morris's book.
Even more serious are Morris's confusing descriptions
of Tesla's technologies, which are often
incomplete, difficult to follow, or just plain wrong.
For example, Morris writes, " In further irony, his
[Edison's] long-ago discovery of 'etheric force' was
powering the radio boom. " The etheric force, which
was synonymous with the electromagnetic radiation
from spark sources that Hertz discovered in 1887, may
have fueled the radiotelegraphy boom using Morse
code in the late 1890s, but the radio boom of the early
1920s was fueled by the vacuum tube, which permitted
the transmission of clear voice and music that was
accessible to the general public. In sharp contrast,
16
transmissions by spark sources were accessible only
to the few who understood Morse code.
Morris goes on to say that " the Radio Corporation
of American, doubled its earnings to $55 million [from
1923 to 1924], and the nation's broadcast frequencies
filled with sounds and sweet airs... " However, the figure
of $55 million that Morris cites as earning is actually
RCA's gross sales for 1924, not earnings. Furthermore,
the gross sales of broadcast radios were only a fraction
of the gross sales of the company. According to the
RCA annual report for 1924, included in the gross sales
of $55 million were revenues from point-to-point communications
and the sales of many components other
than broadcast radios, such as commercial equipment
and replacement vacuum tubes.
In summary, Morris's book is difficult to read, not
only because it is written in reverse chronological
order, but because he does not understand the technology
he is writing about and his writing is often confused.
There is very little new in this book, and there
are many errors and omissions of important topics and
information. I cannot recommend Morris's biography
of Edison. Much better and more accurate biographies
already exist-for example, the three mentioned previously,
which were authored by Israel (1998), Josephson
(1959), and Dyer and Martin (1910 and 1929).
Edmund morris was a distinguished biographer
and is well known for his work, The Rise of Theodore
Roosevelt, which won a Pulitzer Prize and National
Book Award in 1980. He is perhaps most famous for
his Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan. Morris used
an unconventional literary device by inserting himself
into the biography as a fictional Edmund Morris,
who accompanies Reagan everywhere he goes but is
not seen by him. Morris died at the age 78 in May 2019,
several months before Edison was published.

 Reference
[1] J. J. O'Neill, Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla.
New York, NY, USA: Washburn, 1944.
Eric P. Wenaas received the B.S.E.E. and
M.S.E.E. degrees in electrical engineering from
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA, in 1963
and 1964, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in
interdisciplinary studies in engineering from SUNY
Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA, in 1969.
He writes a book review column for the Antique
Wireless Association Journal and has written a
book and many published articles on the history of
wireless. Contact him at admin@chezwenaas.com.
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021

Contents
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover1
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover2
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 1
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Contents
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 3
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 4
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 5
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 6
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 7
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 8
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 9
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 10
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 11
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 12
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 13
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 14
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 15
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 16
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 17
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 18
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 19
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 20
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 21
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 22
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 23
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 24
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 25
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 26
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 27
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 28
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 29
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 30
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 31
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 32
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 33
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 34
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 35
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 36
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 37
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 38
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 39
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 40
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 41
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 42
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 43
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 44
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 45
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 46
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 47
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 48
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 49
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 50
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 51
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 52
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 53
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 54
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 55
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 56
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 57
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 58
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 59
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 60
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 61
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 62
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 63
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 64
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 65
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 66
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 67
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 68
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 69
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 70
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 71
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 72
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 73
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 74
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 75
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 76
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 77
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 78
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 79
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 80
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 81
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 82
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 83
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 84
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 85
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 86
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 87
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 88
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 89
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 90
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 91
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 92
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 93
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 94
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 95
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 96
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover3
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2013
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com