My rating: 4 of 5 stars ★★★★
Source: Goodreads Giveaways
“Electric light is our future. The man who controls it will not simply make an unimaginable fortune. He will not simply dictate politics. He will not merely control Wall Street, or Washington, or the newspapers . . . No, no, no. The man who controls electricity will control the very sun in the sky.” (16)
It’s 1888, New York City. George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison, both genius inventors and owners of their own electric companies, are suing each other for the rights to claim that they were the first to invent the light bulb. Paul Cravath, who we follow throughout the story, is the young lawyer of George Westinghouse.
Paul has both successes and failures, all while learning just how corrupt and deep the battles between the dueling electric companies go.
I want to say this first: It’s very possible that a legal battle between electric companies in the 1800’s doesn’t sound interesting to you. I get it. But trust me when I say that this story really is interesting.
The reason for all this conflict is one thing: electricity.
It was during this time in history that men were attempting to harness electricity for their benefit, but were still learning how to do it safely. I think of the safety measures we have in place for our electrical items now, but back then? They got by on a wing and a prayer, I think.
They had so much to learn.
This book is fast-paced and the feeling of curiosity, innovation, and rivalry is exciting.
To me, it felt like I was reading a variation of the movie, “The Prestige.” It’s set during the same time in history, but instead of the magic of illusions, we have the magic of dangerous electricity.
Also: Holy freaking cow about the first execution by the electric chair… I honestly can’t imagine seeing it, let alone especially experiencing it. Again I say: HOLY COW. Here’s what happened.
If you want to step back in time to meet the men who made your laptop or your phone or just the lights in your kitchen possible, read this book.
Note: I received a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways for my honest review.