Thursday, April 28, 2016
The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of America
The Age of Edison is a good companion piece to Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light. Both trace how light changed our societies, mostly but not exclusively for the better. Where Brilliant took a global view, The Age of Edison specialized, looking at the effect of electric light on America over the course of about 100 years. It's a straightforward record of how electric light moved from an urban luxury to a necessity available to the most remote American communities. Along the way, there were local disasters, corrupt companies, and moments of awe when the lights first came on. The Age of Edison is engrossing and well-written, but there's not a lot to analyze. Worth reading, but the facts rather than the depiction are worth discussing.