Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius

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9781452602714: Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius
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Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology.

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Review:

-Seifer's vivid, revelatory, exhaustively researched biography rescues pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla from cult status and restores him to his rightful place as a principal architect of the modern age.- ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
-[Wizard] brings the many complex facets of [Tesla's] personal and technical life together in to a cohesive whole.... I highly recommend this biography of a great technologist.- --A.A. Mullin, U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, COMPUTING REVIEWS
-[Along with A Beautiful Mind] one of the five best biographies written on the brilliantly disturbed.- --WALL STREET JOURNAL
-Wizard is a compelling tale presenting a teeming, vivid world of science, technology, culture and human lives.- --NEW SCIENTIST
-Marc Seifer is an excellent writer and scholar, who has produced a wonderfully readable and illuminating biography of one of the most intriguing men of this century... mak[ing] us understand not only the man, but also the times in which he lived. . . . [A] masterpiece.- --NELSON DEMILLE
-The author presents much new material... [and] bases his book on a large number of archival and primary sources.... Underneath the layers of hero worship, the core of Seifer's book is a serious piece of scholarship.- --Ronald Kline, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
-Seifer has done a remarkable job going through all the Tesla manuscripts... ferret[ing] out hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles in which he traces out Tesla's public image [and] offers a reasonable reconstruction of Tesla's emotional world. . . . Seifer has significantly advanced our understanding of Tesla.- --Bernard Carlson, author of Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age, for ISIS
-It is my opinion that Dr. Seifer leads the world as the most authoritative of all the Tesla researchers.- --J.W. McGINNIS, President, International Tesla Society
-Far and away the best job among Tesla biographies.- --Jeffrey D. Kooistra, INFINITE ENERGY
-Wizard is ... utterly absorbing with chapters charting all stages of Tesla's life.... Seifer treats his prodigious subject with sympathy and realism.- --NEXUS
-Wizard... presents a much more accurate... picture of Tesla.... [It] is thorough, informative, entertaining and a valuable addition to electrotechnological history, past and future.- --ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES
-In modern times, Tesla may be enjoying a comeback thanks to books like Wizard.- --THE NEW YORK TIMES
-Here is a deep and comprehensive biography of a great engineer of early electrical science. Indeed, it is likely to become the definitive biography of the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla. .... Highly recommended.- --AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE
From Publishers Weekly:
Seifer's vivid, revelatory, exhaustively researched biography rescues pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla from cult status and restores him to his rightful place as a principal architect of the modern age. Based largely on firsthand documents including Tesla's writings, his patents and those of competitors, it credits the Croatian-born Serb, who moved to New York in 1884, with the invention of the induction motor, long-distance electrical power distribution, fluorescent and neon lights, the first true radio tube and remote control, besides making vital contributions to the technology underlying television, wireless communication, robotics, lasers, the facsimile machine and particle-beam weaponry anticipating the space-based -Star Wars- defensive shield. Though often depicted as a recluse, flamboyant nouveau-riche Tesla (1856-1943) lived in Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for two decades, and hobnobbed with architect Sanford White, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, conservationist John Muir, mogul John Jacob Astor III, Swami Vivekananda. Yet the electronic wizard, who competed fiercely with Marconi and with his one-time employer Edison, became swamped in debt, abandoned by a world he helped create, ending his days in seedy poverty, a bitter, anorexic eccentric obsessed with feeding pigeons and avoiding germs. Seifer, who teaches psychology at Community College of Rhode Island, attributes Tesla's downfall partly to his megalomaniacal, neurotic, self-destructive tendencies, partly to a quagmire of litigation and also to his Faustian pact with his ambivalent benefactor, Wall Street financier J. Pierpont Morgan, to whom he relinquished control of several patents. Morgan, suggests Seifer, stymied Tesla's visionary scheme for a global, wireless power-distribution system because, if realized, it would jeopardize electrical, lighting and telephone monopolies. Seifer provides the fullest account yet of Tesla as an entrepreneur, experimental physicist and inventor.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. Boxed & Starred Review
From Library Journal:
Nikola Tesla is credited by many as the inventor of radio and should have received most of the credit for the development of modern electricity. Yet there is considerable confusion about his technical contributions and even more about his personal life. This book, by a professor of psychology at Bristol Community College and a member of the International Tesla Society, painstakingly documents Tesla's wide-ranging contributions. Born in Croatia, Tesla emigrated to the United States in 1884 and almost immediately began work on alternatives to what was then accepted as standard electrical technology. This brought him into conflict with Edison and later Westinghouse. The pattern of conflict continued for nearly 60 years, partially because Tesla was far ahead of his time, partially because he was erratic and off-beat, and partially because he was not an astute business partner. Seifer has analyzed extensive sources, many not previously used by other Tesla biographers, to provide a detailed interpretation of his life, but the fact that he also incorporates extensive handwriting analysis to arrive at several of his conclusions will certainly cause some reader concern. For larger science and biography collections.?Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --
From Booklist:
What kind of genius can fathom the mysteries of electromagnetism but cannot keep corporate lawyers from taking him to the cleaners? Perhaps because his life did not culminate in wealth and acclaim, Nikola Tesla has largely slipped from the national memory. Seifer's biography rescues him from oblivion, bringing back to life the amazingly creative intellect that gave us fluorescent lighting, wireless communication, cheap electrical power, and the remote control. But Seifer also resurrects the wounded, self-destructive personality who never recovered from the loss of a favored older brother and who spiraled into weird obsessions, mental collapse, and poverty as he watched other men use his inventions to win fame and riches. Seifer does an admirable job of explaining his subject's technical feats and analyzing his psychological idiosyncrasies. Tinged with pathos, this meticulously researched biography deserves attention from all who would understand the human tragedies played out in the shadows of our neon culture.
Bryce Christensen --

"Seifer's vivid, revelatory, exhaustively researched biography rescues pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla from cult status and restores him to his rightful place as a principal architect of the modern age." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"[Wizard] brings the many complex facets of [Tesla's] personal and technical life together in to a cohesive whole.... I highly recommend this biography of a great technologist." --A.A. Mullin, U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, COMPUTING REVIEWS
"[Along with A Beautiful Mind] one of the five best biographies written on the brilliantly disturbed." --WALL STREET JOURNAL
"Wizard is a compelling tale presenting a teeming, vivid world of science, technology, culture and human lives." --NEW SCIENTIST
"Marc Seifer is an excellent writer and scholar, who has produced a wonderfully readable and illuminating biography of one of the most intriguing men of this century... mak[ing] us understand not only the man, but also the times in which he lived. . . . [A] masterpiece." --NELSON DEMILLE
"The author presents much new material... [and] bases his book on a large number of archival and primary sources.... Underneath the layers of hero worship, the core of Seifer's book is a serious piece of scholarship." --Ronald Kline, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
"Seifer has done a remarkable job going through all the Tesla manuscripts... ferret[ing] out hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles in which he traces out Tesla's public image [and] offers a reasonable reconstruction of Tesla's emotional world. . . . Seifer has significantly advanced our understanding of Tesla." --Bernard Carlson, author of Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age, for ISIS
"It is my opinion that Dr. Seifer leads the world as the most authoritative of all the Tesla researchers." --J.W. McGINNIS, President, International Tesla Society
"Far and away the best job among Tesla biographies." --Jeffrey D. Kooistra, INFINITE ENERGY
"Wizard is ... utterly absorbing with chapters charting all stages of Tesla's life.... Seifer treats his prodigious subject with sympathy and realism." --NEXUS
"Wizard... presents a much more accurate... picture of Tesla.... [It] is thorough, informative, entertaining and a valuable addition to electrotechnological history, past and future." --ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES
"In modern times, Tesla may be enjoying a comeback thanks to books like Wizard." --THE NEW YORK TIMES
"Here is a deep and comprehensive biography of a great engineer of early electrical science. Indeed, it is likely to become the definitive biography of the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla. .... Highly recommended." --AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE
From Publishers Weekly:
Seifer's vivid, revelatory, exhaustively researched biography rescues pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla from cult status and restores him to his rightful place as a principal architect of the modern age. Based largely on firsthand documents including Tesla's writings, his patents and those of competitors, it credits the Croatian-born Serb, who moved to New York in 1884, with the invention of the induction motor, long-distance electrical power distribution, fluorescent and neon lights, the first true radio tube and remote control, besides making vital contributions to the technology underlying television, wireless communication, robotics, lasers, the facsimile machine and particle-beam weaponry anticipating the space-based "Star Wars" defensive shield. Though often depicted as a recluse, flamboyant nouveau-riche Tesla (1856-1943) lived in Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for two decades, and hobnobbed with architect Sanford White, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, conservationist John Muir, mogul John Jacob Astor III, Swami Vivekananda. Yet the electronic wizard, who competed fiercely with Marconi and with his one-time employer Edison, became swamped in debt, abandoned by a world he helped create, ending his days in seedy poverty, a bitter, anorexic eccentric obsessed with feeding pigeons and avoiding germs. Seifer, who teaches psychology at Community College of Rhode Island, attributes Tesla's downfall partly to his megalomaniacal, neurotic, self-destructive tendencies, partly to a quagmire of litigation and also to his Faustian pact with his ambivalent benefactor, Wall Street financier J. Pierpont Morgan, to whom he relinquished control of several patents. Morgan, suggests Seifer, stymied Tesla's visionary scheme for a global, wireless power-distribution system because, if realized, it would jeopardize electrical, lighting and telephone monopolies. Seifer provides the fullest account yet of Tesla as an entrepreneur, experimental physicist and inventor.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. Boxed & Starred Review
From Library Journal:
Nikola Tesla is credited by many as the inventor of radio and should have received most of the credit for the development of modern electricity. Yet there is considerable confusion about his technical contributions and even more about his personal life. This book, by a professor of psychology at Bristol Community College and a member of the International Tesla Society, painstakingly documents Tesla's wide-ranging contributions. Born in Croatia, Tesla emigrated to the United States in 1884 and almost immediately began work on alternatives to what was then accepted as standard electrical technology. This brought him into conflict with Edison and later Westinghouse. The pattern of conflict continued for nearly 60 years, partially because Tesla was far ahead of his time, partially because he was erratic and off-beat, and partially because he was not an astute business partner. Seifer has analyzed extensive sources, many not previously used by other Tesla biographers, to provide a detailed interpretation of his life, but the fact that he also incorporates extensive handwriting analysis to arrive at several of his conclusions will certainly cause some reader concern. For larger science and biography collections.?Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --
From Booklist:
What kind of genius can fathom the mysteries of electromagnetism but cannot keep corporate lawyers from taking him to the cleaners? Perhaps because his life did not culminate in wealth and acclaim, Nikola Tesla has largely slipped from the national memory. Seifer's biography rescues him from oblivion, bringing back to life the amazingly creative intellect that gave us fluorescent lighting, wireless communication, cheap electrical power, and the remote control. But Seifer also resurrects the wounded, self-destructive personality who never recovered from the loss of a favored older brother and who spiraled into weird obsessions, mental collapse, and poverty as he watched other men use his inventions to win fame and riches. Seifer does an admirable job of explaining his subject's technical feats and analyzing his psychological idiosyncrasies. Tinged with pathos, this meticulously researched biography deserves attention from all who would understand the human tragedies played out in the shadows of our neon culture.
Bryce Christensen --

From the Author:

Wizard: The Life & Times of Nikola Tesla has taken me 20 years to write. My key reasons for writing the book were to try and answer many of the questions left unanswered by the other authors, such as why Tesla's name dropped into obscurity, whether or not he really received signals from Mars, how his magnifying transmitter really worked, what exactly happened to cause his failure with JP Morgan, what happened to his secret particle beam weaponry papers, and would his particle beam weapon have really worked.

The book is set up completely chronologically, and begins with a quote for each chapter. It also differs from the other biographies in a number of other ways mainly because I had access to hundreds of documents which had never been published before, many received through the Freedom of Information Act. To find this information, I travelled to archives in New York City, Washington, DC, Berkeley California and Belgrade Yugoslavia.

For the first time ever, Wizard explains why Tesla stopped working for Edison, why Steinmetz dropped Tesla's name from his textbooks on AC power, why Michael Pupin never mentioned Tesla's name in his physics courses at Columbia University, how Tesla pre-dated Rutherford, Bohr and Einstein in theories on the structure of the atom and on what came to be called Quantum physics, how Marconi pirated Tesla's apparatus, why Tesla had a falling out with his editor TC Martin, John Jacob Astor, JP Morgan and John Hayes Hammond Jr, what Tesla's link to the Navy was, how Franklin Roosevelt used the Tesla patents to block payments on wireless apparatus to Marconi, yet at the same time cut Tesla out of the Marconi/Sarnoff/Westinghouse deal to create RCA, how Tesla interacted with Telefunken, the German wireless concern during WWI and the US War Department during WWII to help them design a particle beam weapon, and how and why Tesla's name has been picked up by cult circles.

Wizard is not only the story of Tesla's amazing life, but also a story about the rise of corporate America at the turn of the century as well as a story about numerous Tesla contemporaries such as Tom Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, George Westinghouse, Robert & Katharine Johnson, John Jacob Astor, JP Morgan, Stanford White, Franklin Roosevelt and J. Edgar Hoover.

This trade paperback edition has a new illustration of Tesla's flying wing VTOL which was a forerunner of Lockheed Martin's X-33 which will replace the shuttle, and also a new section on the June 1908 explosion at Tunguska Siberia. The book contains over 1600 endnotes including references to 250 documents never published before, a full bibliography and index, and 16 pages of photos.

Best wishes,

Marc J. Seifer, Ph.D. Author

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780806539966: Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius

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ISBN 10:  0806539968 ISBN 13:  9780806539966
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9781559723299: Wizard: Life and Times of Nikola Tesla

Citade..., 1996
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9780806519609: Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla

Citade..., 2003
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