The Power Makers: Steam, Electricity, and the Men Who Invented Modern America

Maury Klein, Author . Bloomsbury $29.95 (543p) ISBN 978-1-59691-412-4

In an ambitious and expansive narrative, Klein (Rainbow’s End: The Crash of 1929 ) chronicles the advent of steam power and the electrification of America. Klein’s descriptions of the science of steam power, beginning with James Watt, and electricity are clear and detailed. He is especially strong when exploring the confounding engineering feats needed to make electricity a commercially feasible commodity. The heart of the book is the collision of entrepreneurs, inventors and financiers, and the epic battle between two icons of American industry, Edison and Westinghouse, to control and profit from the electrification of America. Along the way Klein brings dramatically to life the triumphs and disappointments, both human and technical, as the fledging electric companies sought to service American homes and businesses. In a well-written and satisfying account, Klein makes readers aware of the magnitude of the energy, genius and tenacity of not only Edison—whose development of the world’s first power station in 1881 on New York’s Pearl Street was a momentous accomplishment—but also of Westinghouse and many others whose discoveries and vision made cheap electricity possible. B&w illus. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Open Ebook - 560 pages - 978-1-59691-834-4
Paperback - 543 pages - 978-1-59691-677-7
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