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Empires of Light
by Jill Jonnes

One of the major stories in the history of technology is the introduction of electrical power in the final quarter of the 19th century. This book focuses on the activities of Thomas Edison (who championed Direct Current, or DC power), George Westinghouse, and Nicola Tesla (the latter two being proponents of Alternating Current, or AC). While a good historical survey for the general reader, the major weakness of this work is the author's writing style.

In attempting to make her book fun and engaging, Jonnes unleashes a steady onslaught of overwrought phrases and overdone metaphors. She's a chef who dumps an entire spice rack into the pot in the mistaken belief that more seasoning is always better. So, if you are a perfectionist about writing, this book will be torturous. If you are more indulgent, and are intrigued by the history, it can be worthwhile despite its faults.



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