Stormy Genius: The Life of Aviation's Maverick, Bill Lear

Richard Raske, Author, Richard Rashke, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (401p) ISBN 978-0-395-35372-1
""Bill stirred men's blood,'' said one of Lear's employees, and after reading this spirited biography by the author of The Killing of Karen Silkwood, the reader understands why. Although lacking formal education, especially in science, Lear was an inventive genius, his interests ranging from radio to airplanes, wire recorders, prefabricated homes and steam-powered cars. His 150 patents included a radio direction finder and an automatic pilot for planes, and the eight-track tape, designed originally for automobile stereos. And, while he focused on his invention of the moment with monomaniacal intensity, Lear found time to contract four marriages, sire seven children and have many mistresses, some for years. A stubborn, opinionated, difficult man who made and lost several fortunes, his technological intuition rarely led him astray, although he was ill-suited to manage his various companies. His life story is absorbing. Photos not seen by PW. November 13
Reviewed on: 11/01/1985
Release date: 11/01/1985
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