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Tesla: Man Out of Time Paperback – Oct 9 2001

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Tesla: Man Out of Time + My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla + The Problem of Increasing Human Energy: With Special Reference to the Harnessing of the Sun's Energy
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1 edition (Oct. 9 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743215362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743215367
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Discover A dramatic and poignant portrait.

American Scientist Excellent...a significant contribution to the recent history of science...informative and delightful to read.

Publishers Weekly Well documented, sympathetic, and engaging.

Choice Cheney's excellent biography of one of the most idiosyncratic and truly enigmatic "scientists" is both comprehensive and well written...very warmly recommended.

The Sunday Times, London Uncommonly colorful...absorbing.

About the Author

Margaret Cheney is a biographer of unusual versatility. In addition to her two major studies of Tesla (most recently Tesla: Master of Lightning, with Robert Uth), she has written Midnight at Mabel's, a biography of the great cabaret singer and song stylist Mabel Mercer. Cheney is also the author of Meanwhile Farm and Why: The Serial Killer in America. She lives in California.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Promptly at eight o'clock a patrician figure in his thirties was shown to his regular table in the 'Palm Room of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jason Nelson on June 3 2004
Format: Paperback
Already knowing something about Tesla's eccentric character I was excited to read this book. However, I soon found it confusing, poorly writen, and very easy to put down. Tesla himself is an interesting character who perhaps doesn't get the credit he deserves and his story should be told. He was largely responsible for our advances using alternating current, better understanding of electricity, and he also produced many other inventions. Some of his inventions fell more to the theoretical as opposed to practical side but there can be no doubt that he was a veritable intellect. The problem with Cheney is the book focuses too much on other people instead of Tesla and very little in the way of describing the history of Tesla as a man or of Tesla's character is expounded upon in this book. Instead we are given a bunch of little episodes about Tesla interspersed with droning technical detail. This was supposed to be a biography and not a technical journal. As an example allow me to post part of one of her paragraphs:
*The relevance of ball lightning to fusion research has to do with the problem of confining plasma. The heart of the most common type of experimental fusion reaction involves taking isotopic hydrogen gas and both accelerating and superheating it until the hydrogen nuclei fuse to make helium nuclei, releasing, in the process, staggering amounts of energy. Along the way, while the hydrogen is being charged with vast amounts of kinetic and thermal energy, it enters an imperfectly understood material state known as plasma*
Now, boy doesn't that make for compelling reading! Besides these rather boring technical interludes the book does have a middle section with photographs and smidgets of insight which help prevent making the book a complete waste.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan C. Melusky on March 10 2003
Format: Paperback
I agree with what the other reviewer wrote. About the Tesla book as not focusing on Tesla very much. However, I felt that Cheney was trying to tell us that Tesla didn't 'want' to be known at all. The times that Tesla opened up to america, were to see american corporations clamp down on him and his ideas.... so Tesla became even more the introvert than before.... While yes, his letters to people are opening a little bit, they are quite sad, how he came to love pigeons more than people at the end of his life. Animals never tried to hurt him emotionally or finacially, so he spent all his time with them.
The science could have been deeper but I was not a science major so it was at a perfect level for me as a reader of literature. Perhaps it could have had a middle chapter titled, "Deep science" and most readers could be given the heads up about it, so they could skip it if they wished to. However the main thrust of the book was to enlighten the reader as to how recluse Tesla was and how sad his letters got even though he changed the face of american science more so than Edison did. I was shocked when the US Military did not take his genius and put him to work in some hidden base somewhere. But then they probably had a less budget then compared to today.
Anyway, it was a great read on the long drive to Baja Mexico from Idaho.
Jonathan M
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Van Hefner on Sept. 8 2002
Format: Paperback
The best biography written on one of the most amazing men of the 20th century, or perhaps of all-time.
Nikola Tesla was one of the world's greatest inventors, and definitely its most mysterious. To say that Telsa was ahead of his time is putting it rather mildly. Most of his inventions were so advanced that the public had a difficult time grasping just how important they really were.
Although Marconi is often credited with the invention of radio, the real credit goes entirely to Tesla. A long-running battle between the two ended when American courts essentially invalidated Marconi's radio patent, and awarded credit for the invention to Nikola Telsla.
In addition to radio, Tesla also invented Alternating Current (AC), which is the form of electricity used to deliver power to most homes and businesses on earth. He also patented hundreds of other inventions, many of which are in use today. Others are yet to be understood by modern scientists.
Probably just as fascinating as Tesla's inventions was Telsa himself though. He was the original, real-life "mad scientist", and often discussed his invention of the "death ray" with the popular press. The world has never seen an inventor the likes of Nikola Tesla, and may never see one again. This book is a fascinating look at an amazing individual.
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By Rick M. Pilotte TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Sept. 26 2008
Format: Paperback
During my research the name of Tesla often came up and each time I read his name and the encompanying tales I was fascinated and had to have a book specificaly written about this man. It would seem that any book about Tesla would be an exciting read as "Lightning in his Hand" proved to be.[..even though this author dispels some of the errors in that book.]
So when I got this book I felt I had found great spoil, as Tesla books seem eternaly hard to find in second hand book stores. I sat down then suddenly realized that this book was written by a woman. If you know Tesla, it seems to me the two don't mix too well. I found myself rereading promo on the covers and such wondering if I had made a bad buy. But I read.
Cheney does a pretty good job of research and does dispel a few myths and corrects some missinformation, so as a research peice it does the job satisfactorily. This is a good and well researched book that rarely shows typical "feminine" traits in the writing and is pretty "all business".
However in retrospect, I realized that there was something missing. When reading about Tesla in other sources, the imaginations soared, and the gears worked over time. Visions of possabilities just kept coming whenever this man was mentioned anywhere. Tesla is a man that inspires us even today. But I found that this promting to imagination and inspiration somehow lacking in this work as this may have been more of a clinical look at Tesla, that somehow left his essence somehow missing or not as fully described as one might expect.
This is a good introduction to Tesla But I would recommend reading other Tesla books to get a sence of this mans's mystery. Perhaps some have made more of Tesla then is reality and this book may bring us crashing to earth so to speak, but I think we all need inspiration to explore the unknown, and somehow this book is nominal at best in this catagory.
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