Book Review: Edison by Edmund Morris

January 1, 2020


Edison by Edmund Morris is a biography of the most known, and productive, genius inventor in American history. Mr. Morris is famous, Pulitzer Prize winning biographer his biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 1980.

  • 800 pages
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081299311X

Book Review: Edison by Edmund Morris
My rating for Edison 5
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As far as biographies go, Edison by Edmund Morris is a very unique one in the way it goes about the narrative. Mr. Morris chose to tell the life of Thomas Alva Edison in reverse chronological order, concentrating on his interests at the time.

The book starts at the end of his life, when Mr. Edison developed an interest in botany, in the defense industry (where money cold be made), chemistry, magnetism, light, sound, telegraphy and ends at the beginning of his life with what made the man.

“The cold he could stand with multiple layers of underwear, and the darkness he would one day do something about.”

At first, I didn’t follow the logic of the author’s decision, but as I progressed into it, I discovered the magic in the narrative. Every school child in America knows about Edison and his contribution to our way of life, so building up to one of his great discoveries might not be as exciting. Starting from the point of discovery, and working backwards to peel the layers of what made this genius have such ideas to begin with is a fresh perspective on stories which have been written about multiple times.

Mr. Morris focuses on Edison’s hearing loss at an early age, and the profound effect it had on the man throughout his life. The energy that Mr. Edison had is enviable, he could work 18-20 hours a day, sometimes more. For most of his life he was dedicated to his lab and inventions (as well as stealing patents, as in the case of Eadweard Muybridg). I was also supposed to find out that he was stingy when someone asked him for money, but very generous with those who had his work ethic and didn’t demand much.

Sadly, Mr. Morris passed away shortly before this book was published. Luckily for us, he finished this exciting biography which will be enjoyed by many for a long time to come.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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