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Tesla: Man Out of Time [Paperback]

Margaret Cheney
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Book Description

Oct. 9 2001
In Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney explores the brilliant and prescient mind of one of the twentieth century's greatest scientists and inventors. Called a madman by his enemies, a genius by others, and an enigma by nearly everyone, Nikola Tesla was, without a doubt, a trailblazing inventor who created astonishing, sometimes world-transforming devices that were virtually without theoretical precedent. Tesla not only discovered the rotating magnetic field -- the basis of most alternating-current machinery -- but also introduced us to the fundamentals of robotics, computers, and missile science. Almost supernaturally gifted, unfailingly flamboyant and neurotic, Tesla was troubled by an array of compulsions and phobias and was fond of extravagant, visionary experimentations. He was also a popular man-about-town, admired by men as diverse as Mark Twain and George Westinghouse, and adored by scores of society beauties.
From Tesla's childhood in Yugoslavia to his death in New York in the 1940s, Cheney paints a compelling human portrait and chronicles a lifetime of discoveries that radically altered -- and continue to alter -- the world in which we live. Tesla: Man Out of Time is an in-depth look at the seminal accomplishments of a scientific wizard and a thoughtful examination of the obsessions and eccentricities of the man behind the science.

Frequently Bought Together

Tesla: Man Out of Time + My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla + Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius
Price For All Three: CDN$ 39.74

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Review

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

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Tesla: A sad and amazing tale 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
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Definite Tesla Biography 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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5.0 out of 5 stars More than an inventor! April 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
After reading this book, the whole way of understanding what the human mind is changed for me.
One of the most important things I have ever read in my life came from this very book, when Tesla is quoted saying this:
"Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating opon our sense organs from without. Owing to the similarity of our construction and the sameness of our environment, we respond in like manner to similar stimuli, and from the concordance of our reactions, understanding is born. In the course of ages, mechanisms of infinite complexity are developed, but what we
call "soul" is nothing more than the sum of the functionings of the body. When this functioning ceases, the "soul" ceases likewise."
As you can see, this book is so much more than just about some inventor and his amazing gadgets that created sparks!
My second favorite quote from this book is this:
"There is no conflict between the ideal of religion and the ideal of science, but science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact. The universe is simply a great machine which never came into being and will never end."
Here we can see Tesla was way before his time knowing back then what most scientists today don't know.
This book really shows you a man born way before his time.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars competent biography
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... Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2008 by Rick M. Pilotte
5.0 out of 5 stars You may be shocked by this remarkable account of Tesla's life
Nikola Tesla was an inventor who lived around a hundred years ago. He was perhaps the foremost electrical genius of his time. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2007 by Reviewing for dummies
4.0 out of 5 stars An insightful and well written book
Tesla was an fascinating but often overlooked historical figure His inventions are still the basis of all major electrical power systems around the world. Read more
Published on Oct. 28 2003 by sir_isaac_newton
4.0 out of 5 stars can you ever know enough about Tesla?
like most books about Tesla, useful information can be gleaned from this book, but not all is told here. Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2002 by DRYWASHER-BILL
5.0 out of 5 stars An Very Eye Opening Book
I, like many others, have heard the name of Tesla and knew that he was far-sighted and a great inventor. Read more
Published on June 1 2002 by TheHighlander
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating biography for any physicist or engineer
Nikola Tesla, a Serbian immigrant to America, was a strange man. He was frequently referred to in the press as a 'mad genius', and previous biographies have been sensational,... Read more
Published on May 27 2002 by Celia Redmore
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to put it down.
Ms Cheney should clearly have stuck to the historical aspects of Tesla's life and his inventions instead of trying to write about the technical. Read more
Published on May 22 2002 by Chris Pappas
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
This is a very detailed work. Cheney goes into much detail about the inventor. It mentions many very interesting aspects of Tesla's life. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to Illuminate the Man
This book reads more like a very long feature article for a newspaper than a biography. Nikola Tesla is fascinating because of his revolutionary and fantastical ideas. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2001 by doomsdayer520
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