3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tesla: A sad and amazing tale
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...
Published on March 10 2003 by Jonathan C. Melusky
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
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...
Published on June 3 2004 by Jason Nelson
Most Helpful First | Newest First
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (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. Perhaps, most irritatingly to me was the way Cheney was disorganized and bounced around in time. It was hard to tell if she was talking about the younger or the older Tesla and if she was discussing something that already happened or that was occuring later in his life. Anyway, this is a shame because Tesla is without doubt someone worth studying but based on the things I've mentioned I would have to suggest a different biography.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tesla: A sad and amazing tale,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Definite Tesla Biography,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (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.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to put it down.,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (Paperback)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. After reading several of her speculations about Tesla's inventions, and explainations of how they worked, I had to stop reading the book becuase of her glaring ignorance on these matters. Examples are her asserations that capacitors discharge with "several hundred million oscilations a second" (they can, but it depends on the external circuit), and her comparison of the skin effect with superconductivity (currents flowing on the "skin" or surface of a conductor because of high frequencies cause the conductor to be MORE resistive, not less). She suggest that Tesla was the true inventor of radio (by her analysis, the first person who measured a magnetically induced signal of any kind should be) and the particle accelerator (again by her analysis, it should be the first person who observed that an electic field can accelerate a charged particle). On a side note about accelerators, or as she calls them "atom smashers", a cyclotron cause particles to have a spiral, not circular, orbit as she says. Finally she delved into the paranormal, at which point I stopped reading. As someone who has spent a career working with high voltage, high current, and high frequency electronics, I found this book an embarrassment to the genius of Tesla's work. A word of advice to MS Cheney, get a technical editor.
4.0 out of 5 stars competent biography,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars More than an inventor!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (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
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars An insightful and well written book,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (Paperback)Tesla was an fascinating but often overlooked historical figure His inventions are still the basis of all major electrical power systems around the world. His later work often seemed fanciful/extravagent though -- perhaps prone to hyperbole in order to attract investors, he seemed to be facinated by very high voltage electricity. This books does a fine job of summarizing the character and work of "the great man" and reveals many -- but not all -- of the mysteries surrounding him.
Recommended to those interested in history, invention, engineering or science.
4.0 out of 5 stars can you ever know enough about Tesla?,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (Paperback)like most books about Tesla, useful information can be gleaned from this book, but not all is told here. more books that one has about Tesla and his inventions all come together to help the reader/technician/inventor envision the final results. This is necessary because most technical Tesla components have to be made and fashioned on the spot, and then tuned and calibrated to perform the desired function. Indeed, Tesla spent a lot more time making and trying out certain key components, than making the overall 'machine'.
Amazingly, working with multi-volts and wattages, in one's garage or lab, lighting up burned out florescent tubes hanging around off the ceiling, can be enlightening for the user and so destructive for any type of computer, or object that uses a computer chip. Though the use and making of very complex components, Tesla later found that many of the end results, intended or not, were 'simple' oversights or side bars of his experiments, and these 'simple' technologies assumed a life all their own, sometimes overshadowing the more complex and intricate workings of the previously envisioned result.
Here we are, amateurs and novices (compared with the Master Tesla), attempting to pick up the pieces from obscure notes and diagrams, and reproducing 'simple' actions, which are anything but simple. This, the legacy of a true inventor, rather than a tinkerer, as was Edison. Lest anyone think about journals and writings of Tesla becoming readily available, most acredited sources believe that 80% or more of his technical notes and works ended up in Belgrade, and with the last Croatian/Serbian war, their continued existence is doubtful. Yet, with what few notes we have, our quest for knowledge and witness to the vast fields of thought and technology unmasked by Tesla is simply unfathomable to the informed.
Good luck in your quest, and be open to purchasing all you can about Tesla, the Genius Inventor.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Very Eye Opening Book,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (Paperback)I, like many others, have heard the name of Tesla and knew that he was far-sighted and a great inventor. Many rock fans will remember the group "Tesla" and their album "The Great Radio Controversy". I only mention this because I feel it opened the door for a great many young people to have an interest in Tesla.
This book was engrossing from start to finish. The number of patents, the ideas he presented so far ahead of his time and the inventions he brought forth literally changed the world. He does not get credit for most of what he did. He was just recently added to the Smithsonian Museum for his invention of the radio which many still believe was invented by Marconi. And children are still taught in school that "Thomas Edison invented electricity" but in fact the type of of electrity we use today was put forth by Tesla.
His awesome intelligence invented so many components of micro technology that inventors for years after did not comprehend. For instance, this book brings for the facts that "Inventors of modern computer technology in the last half of the twentieth century repeatedly have been surprised, when seeking patents, to encounter Tesla's basic ones, already on file."
To list Nikola Tesla's ideas, discoveries and inventions would take an entire book in itself but some included the Atom Smasher, X-Rays, Radio, electro-magnetic power, AC electricity, Solar Heating, Vacuum Tubes, Remote Control Vehicles, Torpedoes, Force Fields, Microwave Transmissions, Diathormy, High Voltage Conducters, Wireless Communications, World Wide Broadcasting Systems, Flying Saucers, Transisters, The Atomic Clock, Cosmic Rays, Phosphorescent Lighting, The Heating Pat, Robots, Liquid Oxygen, Under Ground Power LInes, Cryogenics, Radar, Guided Missiles, Automobile Speedometer, Highway Systems, Parking Garages, Interplanetary Communications, Laser Beams, Death Rays, Modern Warfare, Geothermal Steam Plants, and the list can go on and on. He once produced an earth quake in New York City and blew out electric plants in Colorado with his experiments. He was so far ahead of his time that the US Air Force is still researching his ideas and the US Government, in posession of his papers, denies that they have any of his notes. What they did acknowledge they had is still classified.
Nikola Tesla was a dapper man who spoke eight languages fluently and onced signed away riches for the benefit of a friend (George Westinghouse) who had supported him in the past. He was a naturalized U.S. citizen and this he considered his greatest accomplishement. His experiments through most of his life were constanty in need of funds and he approached the US Government several times. One can only wonder what might have come of his knowledge if the government had agreed to fund him. Thankfully his devotion was to the United States because both Russia and Germany approached him and he turned them down. As it turns out the US Government expressed much more interest in his experiments after his death than when he was alive. Apparently taking his notes and classifying them and also moving forward in his ideas.
This book presents a great overview with a little insight into his experiments. It covers the man, the experiments, his friends and his times. It's a great introduction to Nikola Tesla and I highly recommend it to anyone who is searching for the truth about historic inventions. Big companies and powerful men continued to keep Tesla's inventions either ignored, ridiculed (until later knowledge proved them right) or stolen so he could not profit to the full extent that he should have. A study in the down side of capitalism.
Buy this book, open your ideas, enjoy history and think about what you have been taught. Fascinating!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating biography for any physicist or engineer,
This review is from: Tesla: Man Out of Time (Paperback)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, rather than informative.
Tesla thought in pictures rather than words (like Einstein) and had a photographic memory until well into his adult life. At least three of his senses, hearing, sight and touch, were sufficiently over-developed that they caused him physical discomfort. He was an intuitive thinker: he grasped concepts as a whole, and then worked backwards, painfully and not always successfully, to realize the practical details that would utilize his grand ideas. He was able to model and test equipment in his head, rotating it as needed and putting it through its paces, so that when the equipment was finally built, it worked perfectly the first time.
The problem, admitted by biographer Cheney, is that an inventor who goes directly from mental concept to patent papers leaves a thin trail behind him as to his thought processes. The constant need to obtain funding for his experiments and the legal ramifications of being first to patent new ideas, meant that Tesla -- already a loner by nature -- was driven to keep his work as secret as possible. Cheney finally located his private papers in a government department, out of sight under lock and key.
Tesla was more of a scientist than the purely practical Edison, his main competitor for funding. Although some of his more famous patents -- the Tesla coil and 'polyphase' (i.e. alternating current) electricity -- became the foundation of American engineering before World War II, other patents were filed and not followed up on as Tesla lost interest in them. He filed patents for a transistor and for wireless broadcasting. But it was Shockley et al who build the first working modern computers (and received the Nobel prize) and Marconi who transmitted the first long-distance wireless messages and is generally recognized as the founder of modern broadcasting.
Biographer Cheney has presented as much of the material on Tesla's life as seems currently available except, of course, for the patents themselves, which are publicly available. It is up to us, the readers, to try and understand how the mind of this inventive genius worked based on our own knowledge of both science and psychology. That doesn't seem an unreasonable chore on behalf of a man who once said:
"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success."
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney (Paperback - Oct. 9 2001)
CDN$ 19.99 CDN$ 14.43