Review: “Tesla: Master of Lightning” by Cheney and Uth


teslamasteroflightningpTesla: Master of Lightning by Margaret Cheney and Robert Uth. 184 pages. Metro Books.

I’m stuck in the preparatory part of writing a book when you’re still gathering intel, still absorbing ideas and piecing together bits of inspiration that you hope will one day turn into something worthwhile. And while my story is, in the long run, about an alien invasion, I started off by researching Nikola Tesla. And it was well worth the side trip.

Genius is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot, and most of the time we’re just talking about someone who is a tick or two smarter than the rest of us. But Tesla was the real deal. And reading this book helps you really understand how much of a genius he was. From the very beginning, he had a grasp on the nature of electricity that no one else alive had, or perhaps even anyone today. And because he could understand its nature, he could apply it in ways that people like Edison and Marconi and Roentgen (the inventor of the x-ray) could only guess at. He took the first step that led to inventions like the wireless telegraph, the x ray, remote control, and was solely responsible for alternating current and the AC motor, which revolutionized industry.

Perhaps his invention that still hasn’t been completely understood is the Tesla coil. He understood its implications so completely that he was planning on using it for a jumping-off point for wireless energy, worldwide communication (and even communication to other planets), and had plans for a death ray that would shoot down hundreds of planes from 250 miles away.

It sounds like science fiction, and his thinking was so far ahead of much of the world that he could often make claims that people would believe, even if he meant them in jest. But despite his countless inventions and patents, he was not a businessman, and he ended up dying penniless. This is an interesting story about a fascinating man. What I find incredible is that how far ahead of his time he was; many of his concepts are being researched and pursued today.

I give this one five out of five stars.

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