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Extended Audio Sample Edison: A Life of Invention Audiobook, by Paul Israel Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (36 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Israel Narrator: Raymond Todd Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2006 ISBN: 9781455176472
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The definitive biography of the century’s godfather of invention—from the preeminent Edison scholar

The conventional story of Thomas Edison reads more like myth than history: with only three months of formal education, a hardworking young man overcomes the odds to become one of the greatest inventors in history. But the portrait that emerges from Edison: A Life of Invention reveals a man of genius and astonishing foresight whose career was actually a product of his fast-changing era. In this peerless biography, Paul Israel exposes the man behind the inventions, expertly situating his subject within a thoroughly realized portrait of a burgeoning country on the brink of massive change. For the first time, much attention is devoted to Edison’s early family life, where the young man honed his entrepreneurial sense and eye for innovation as the editor of a weekly newspaper. Armed with unprecedented access to Edison’s workshop diaries, notebooks, letters, and more than five million pages of archives, Israel brings fresh insight into how the inventor’s creative mind worked, brightening the unexamined corners of his singularly influential and triumphant career in science.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Israel’s book should go a long way toward taking Edison out of the shadows and placing him in the proper light.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “Israel’s meticulous research and refusal to shy away from the dodgier aspects of Edison’s personality offers a fresh glimpse into the life of the inventor.”

    New Scientist

  • “Israel...has done a remarkable job. Not only has he given us fresh insights into a complex personality, but he has set this against the backdrop of a dramatically changing American society driven on remorselessly by the second Industrial Revolution, in which Edison was a pivotal player.”


  • “An authoritative look into Edison’s working methods, here leavened by enough personal detail to give the achievements shape.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Exhaustively researched, with strong emphasis on Edison’s methods and achievements.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vincent | 10/26/2013

    " Rather dry, however very informative. Before Steve Jobs, there was Edison "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Grace | 1/20/2012

    " Avoid this audio book - the narrator kills it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 7/13/2008

    " Had it as audio and it broke in middle of third chapter so I never finished it entirely. "

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About the Author

Paul Israel is the managing editor of a multivolume documentary edition of the Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers University and the coauthor of Edison’s Electric Light. He holds a PhD in the history of technology. He lives in Highland Park, New Jersey.

About the Narrator

Raymond Todd is an actor and director in the theater as well as a poet and documentary filmmaker. He plays jazz trombone for the Leatherstocking quartet, an ensemble that gets its name from one of his favorite Blackstone narrations, The Deerslayer. Todd lives in New York.