It's brilliant... Apr 22, 2010
"Empires of Light" is a well researched and scholarly, yet extremely entertaining look at the 'electricity wars' in the US. Truly a pageturner in the best sense of the word, the book examines the rivalry between Edison and Westinghouse for the dominant electrical format. Nikola Tesla figures prominently in the exciting saga.
Jill Jonnes did her homework on this book and it shows. The characters fight it out in the labs, in court, in the press and at exhibitions worldwide to establish the supremacy of either Edison's Direct Current system or the Alternating Current system of Tesla and Westinghouse.
Today, we know by daily experience how it turned out, but the story of how we finally ended up with AC is one of the more riveting accounts of the Industrial Revolution. One of the more surprising bits of history that we learn is that Edison wasn't really a very nice guy.