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Signor Marconi's Magic Box: How an Amateur Inventor Defied Scientists and Began the Radio Revolution [Hardcover]

Gavin Weightman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Review

‘Gavin Weightman brings alive the excitement and uncertainty of the early wireless experiments. His book cannot fail to spark the imagination of anyone wishing to comprehend the magnitude of the revolution brought about by wireless. It is an excellent read' New Scientist
'A fascinating story set in a fascinating period' Sunday Tribune (Dublin)
'Gavin Weightman's impeccably researched book is far more than a fact-led shunt through the Marconi story. His prose shimmers with the kind of romance that, in the mobile phone age, is quite difficult to grasp. But what a lovely story! An unassuming young chap confronts and defies the finest scientific minds in the world. It is pleasing to report that the cinematic aspect of this tale comes gloriously alive within Weightman's evocative, vividly detailed writing. Utterly captivating and, even for techno-dunces like myself, wholly illuminating' Manchester Evening News
'Fascinating…I strongly recommend this book, [and] salute Gavin Weightman for his lucid account of the radio revolution' Trevor Baylis, Daily Mail

From the Author

Gavin Weightman is an experienced television documentary-maker (producer/director/writer), journalist and author of many books such as The Making of Modern London: 1815–1914, The Making of Modern London: 1914–1939, London River, Picture Post Britain and Rescue: A History of the British Emergency Services (Boxtree). His first book for HarperCollins, The Frozen Water Trade, was published in February 2002.

From the Back Cover

'The story of the wireless, and the remarkable man who invented it.'

On a winters evening in the East End of London in 1896, an unassuming young Italian gave the first public demonstration of a device he had created in the attic of his family home near Bologna. It consisted of two wooden boxes, one of which could apparently transmit messages to the other. Many of those in the audience suspected that they were witnessing a mere conjuring trick. None can have guessed that Signor Marconi's magic box would be regarded as the most remarkable invention of the nineteenth century, and that he himself would become one of the most famous men in the world.

Soon his wireless sets were sending messages to and from Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight. Within a few years ships at sea were able for the first time to remain in constant contact with the land. The infamous murderer Dr Crippen would be brought to justice as a result of wireless, and the survivors of the 'Titanic' would owe their lives to Marconi's invention.

As well as the story of a remarkable innovator, 'Signor Marconi's Magic Box' is a history of the colourful early days of wireless, when the mysterious new medium attracted many unscrupulous charlatans and outlandish theorists. No one – not even Marconi himself – really understood how it worked. Many eminent scientists believed it might bring messages from beyond the grave, while others remained convinced that the whole thing was a confidence trick.

Gavin Weightman, author of 'The Frozen Water Trade', has written a gripping account of a seminal scientific discovery, and of its wide-ranging consequences for future generations.

About the Author

Gavin Weightman is an experienced television documentary-maker (producer/director/writer), journalist and author of many books such as The Making of Modern London: 1815–1914, The Making of Modern London: 1914–1939, London River, Picture Post Britain and Rescue: A History of the British Emergency Services (Boxtree). His first book for HarperCollins, The Frozen Water Trade, was published in February 2002.

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