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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable man - not so remarkable book
Reading this book was propelled through it by the incredible genius of Nikola Tesla, though in places the book itself was a little 'dry'. It is well-researched and comprehensive, but some of the links the author makes between Tesla's patents and modern devices seem tenuous to me.
Published 24 months ago by A. Chell

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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There are two sides to every coin
To be honest I found this book very frustrating, the narrative jumps around spending ages in one place then practically skipping the next, the pace is totally uneven.

Also, the author seems more keen to perpetuate the mythos surrounding Tesla rather than document his story. The book is full of 'examples' of how Tesla was the first to invent everything based on...
Published on 10 Feb 2008 by Yorkshireryan


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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There are two sides to every coin, 10 Feb 2008
This review is from: Tesla: Man out of Time (Paperback)
To be honest I found this book very frustrating, the narrative jumps around spending ages in one place then practically skipping the next, the pace is totally uneven.

Also, the author seems more keen to perpetuate the mythos surrounding Tesla rather than document his story. The book is full of 'examples' of how Tesla was the first to invent everything based on nothing more than a passing reference in a tertiary level source. The quality of the history in this book is mediocre at best.

This book will continue to sell well as there is little else to seriously challenge it about Tesla. I bought this book hoping it would separate the fact from fiction and the reality from the hype. Unfortunately, it does neither and just builds the fog of confusion around this fascinating and undoubtedly brilliant man.

I just wish the author had left the pro Tesla bias at home and written a good, honest, warts and all, biography.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A flawed biography of an interesting man, 28 July 2012
By 
Alexander Sokol (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tesla: Man out of Time (Paperback)
In "Tesla: Man out of Time", Cheney chronicles Nikola Tesla's life from his early traumas as a child throughout his periods of greatness and until his death as a lonely, disturbed man. Tesla is most certainly interesting company due to his combination of practical inventiveness, visionary ideas and frequent sheer oddity. Also, the biography usefully documents that Tesla, while certainly a genius, also was a man of hyperbole, often making grand claims but not backing them up, as well as a man whose metaphysical ideas about the nature of the universe eventually would be eclipsed by the development of theoretical physics. This gives a more nuanced view of Tesla's achievements.

Cheney's book, however, has several very detracting features. First off, the quality of the historical documentation for Cheney's claims throughout the book often appears dubious. This does not appear to be the fault of lack of research by the author, rather it seems most probable that Nikola Tesla was a strange and misunderstood man throughout his time, and the historical references available to document his life are scarce. However, in addition to this, there are two major faults which must be attributed solely to the author:

1. Cheney in several places throughout the book refers to supernatural phenomena as if they were certain to exist. For example, on p. 94, she states "... This was not to be the only instance of precognition and extrasensory perception in Tesla's life. But he always tried to explain them away ... ", such that basically the reality of supernatural events are given primacy to Tesla's skepticism. On p. 125, she writes, referring to the suggestion of a contemporary electrical engineer, " ... Tesla's hypersensitive vacuum tube might make an excellent detector not only of Kirlian auras but of other so-called paranormal phenomena, including the entities commonly called ghosts". Referring to disputed or pseudoscientific phenomena as if no dispute existed is very bad scholarship.

2. Cheney is throughout the book unreasonably eager to demonstrate the great and unique genius of Tesla. For example, on p. 88 it is said that " ... The process became known as diathermy. From it would flow an enormous field of medical technology ... ", and p. 153 states "... he also hoped to learn how to locate ore deposits and oil fields. Modern subsurface exploratory techniques were thus presaged". Both cases are typical: Tesla gets an idea, but does not develop it or only makes preliminary investigations, and the author extols that he "presages" what later turned out to be a fertile scientific field. However, a loose idea is a very far cry from actually getting the science to work. Also, while being eager to applaud the ideas of Tesla which are reminiscent of later science, the author often is uncritical of Tesla's more outrageous claims, for example his yet-unreplicated experiments with ball lighting and long-distance wireless transfer of electrical power.

Apart from the above, Cheney also occasionally uses sources of rather doubtful quality, such as Lambert Dolphin (p. 352), a physicist creationist with questionable scientific credentials.

Summing up, the figure of Tesla certainly is an interesting one, and there is no doubt that he contributed greatly to human knowledge. However, Cheney's book contains unreliable scholarship and an apparent bias towards demonstrating the greatness of Tesla, ultimately making it a somewhat mediocre biography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable man - not so remarkable book, 29 Nov 2012
By 
A. Chell "Avid reader" (Staffordshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tesla: Man out of Time (Paperback)
Reading this book was propelled through it by the incredible genius of Nikola Tesla, though in places the book itself was a little 'dry'. It is well-researched and comprehensive, but some of the links the author makes between Tesla's patents and modern devices seem tenuous to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TESLA, 10 Feb 2014
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This was a very informative book about the actual life of the colourful Nicoli Tesla. Absolutely stunning amount of info and incite into his life. At least 100 years ahead of his time and probably an even greater genius than Einstein.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tesla, 26 May 2012
By 
Koriel Tannhauser (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tesla: Man out of Time (Paperback)
As the book's cover states, the author explores the brilliant and prescient mind of one of the twentieth century's greatest scientists and inventors. Called madman by some, genius by others and an enigma by nearly everyone else, Nikola Tesla was without a doubt an amazing inventor. Tesla not only discovered the rotating magnetic field but introduced us to the fundamentals of robotics, computers, missile science, radio, concept of electromagnetic energy being transmitted "through the Earth", ball lightning, radar and many others.

This book gives a glimpse of a brilliant mind and at the same time a very lonely man (nothing negative here as Tesla was simply a loner, working apart, not entering into corporate associations and not mixing with friends). It covers his whole life, starting at his birth in Croatia in 1856 and his childhood. While in school he excelled in English, French, German, Italian, Slavic dialects and of course math at which he starred. At one point his math's teachers suspected him of cheating, but soon it was realized that this was just another aspect of his abnormal ability to visualize and retain images (his mind pretty much stored entire logarithmic tables to be called on as needed (p35)). According to him, he was also displaying another phenomenon that is familiar to many creative people: there always came a moment, when he was not concentrating, but when he knew he had the answer (even though it had not yet materialized). Practical results confirmed this intuition (it is a fact, that in later life the machines that he built nearly always worked).

In later parts of the book, we have a detailed description of his life in US, working with Edison, his famous Colorado Springs experiments and association with Colonel Astor, George Westinghouse or J.Pierpont Morgan. At that time the made almost correct prediction that Earth itself resonates at 6, 18 and 30 Hz - he was almost close to the mark as Earth resonates at 8, 4 and 20 Hz (since his wireless power-transmission concept involved Earth resonance, the closer he could bring his operational frequency to that of the Earth the better it would be for producing very large movements of power in his system (p178)).

The book is also very good at describing his later days, the fascination with pigeons that started with a "little sick bird" in his room, which he had picked up two days before in front of the library (this whole situation worried him much more than all his technical, wireless problems put together). That fascination with pigeons (saving them and feeding them), lasted pretty much until his death in 1943, at the age of 86 (Tesla died in his sleep). Some people could find this strange, but it simply was something that he "picked up" in his childhood: "I liked to feed our pigeons, chickens, and other fowl, take one or the other under my arm and hug and pet it" (p280).

In my opinion this is a captivating story of almost forgotten, fascinating man, a great mind, and some of the most amazing discoveries at the beginning of XX century. It is worth notice, that the US federal government had a great interest in Tesla's papers (probably because Tesla often talked about developing weapons with beams that would melt aircraft, telegeodynamics and other advanced concepts -> chapter 29 and partly 30 - will give you more information about that). The book also has a few pages of photos that are a nice addition to a whole story.

If you are interested in Nikola Tesla, you simply have to read this book. It will give you a small insight into one of the greatest minds of the XX century. You won't regret reading it (plus, each chapter has about 5 to 15 reference notes, and there is some additional information about Tesla's own writing and lectures in "Reference Notes" chapter (p357), so if you want to know more it is easy to find an additional material to read). A highly recommended read!
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23 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great scientist! Great Book!, 4 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Tesla: Man out of Time (Paperback)
The winners always write history. In case of Nikola Tesla, we all won but many of us do not even know about it. Recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the truth about the world around us as practically everything we see around us in everyday life has some connection with this magnificent genius. If Einstein had something to learn from him so can you!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 29 Sep 2014
This review is from: Tesla: Man out of Time (Paperback)
A European genius!
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Tesla: Man out of Time
Tesla: Man out of Time by Margaret Cheney (Paperback - 24 Sep 2001)
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