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Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World [Hardcover]

David Bodanis
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Jan 2005
For centuries, electricity was viewed as little more than a curious property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. Then, in the 1790s, Alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that ignited an explosion of knowledge and invention, transforming our world. The force that once seemed inconsequential was revealed to be responsible for everything from the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains. A superb storyteller, Bodanis weaves tales of romance, divine inspiration, and fraud through lucid accounts of scientific breakthrough. The great discoverers come to life in all their brilliance and idiosyncrasy, including the visionary Michael Faraday, who struggled against the prejudices of the British class system, and Alexander Graham Bell, driven to invent by his love for a young deaf student. From the cold waters of the Atlantic, to the streets of Hamburg during a World War II firestorm and the interior of the human body, Electric Universe is a mesmerizing journey of discovery by a master science writer.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (20 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316861820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316861823
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 893,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Hugely impressive. No one makes complex science more fascinating and accessible - and indeed more pleasurable - than David Bodanis (Bill Bryson)

A technological odyssey complete with heroes and villains, triumph and tragedy - a true scientific adventure (Simon Singh, author of BIG BANG and FERMAT'S LAST THEOREM)

Bodanis unpeels these layers of the electrical onion expertly; his writing is vigorous and sometimes ecstatic . . . ELECTRIC UNIVERSE is a high-voltage performance (DAILY MAIL)

A compelling, fast-paced read (OBSERVER)

Book Description

From the author of the bestselling E=MC2, a brilliantly descriptive analysis of one of the most powerful forces that controls the universe - electricity

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trvial and superficial 28 Sep 2008
I agree with the other reviewers who considered this book superficial. It only touches upon the interesting experimental aspects of the subject and provides way too much irrelevant padding. Whilst I appreciate it may make for more easier reading to provide background material on the personalities and have enjoyed this when done in balance by other authors I feel this one simply neglects the main theme in favour of irrelevances - why include a paragraph quoting Hitler and why the lengthy discussion of Bomber Harris and air raids on Germany - the obvious point about the influence of radio/radar could have been made much more succinctly. All in all lightweight and trivial with glaring omissions in it's central subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read if you have an interest in science 22 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Contrary to the other two reviews I thought it was a great read. Heard good things about it on the radio and wasn't disappointed. Aspidistra obviously had the wrong idea when he bought it because the book is about the "irrelevant padding", the experimental aspects were interesting to me as a chemical engineer and although touched on lightly gave a good insight as to how it all came about. If you wanted a book without "glaring omissions in it's central subject" a text book would have been a better idea. Great stories within and would recommend!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good read 20 Jan 2010
By Antony
Just overall a boring book and not written well. I couldn't finish it I had to stop reading in the end :(
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 29 July 2008
By S. Mortimer - Published on
This book succeeded in showing the romantic and exciting side of the discoveries made on electricity over the last two or three hundred years, while remaining straight-forward and simple enough for anyone to enjoy. Highly recommended!
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