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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story let down by the author, 3 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age (Macmillan Science) (Hardcover)
This could have been an excellent story, but is unfortunately let down by the author.
This is the story of William Shockley - the Nobel prize winning apparent inventor of the transistor. I say apparent because there were other members of his team who actually invented it and previous scientists almost got a transistor working. However, it is William Shockley who has his name on the patent and thus the Nobel prize for the invention of the transistor.
The story is constructed from a series of notebooks, diaries and letters of William Shockley (hence there is a huge reference section at the back of the book to confirm the authors remarks). The story of William Shockley is fascinating, but the way in which the author describes it is disappointing and lacks detail. For example, the key part of the story about the invention of the transistor and how it works is covered in small paragraph. I had to research elsewhere on the internet to find more details, but this then highlighted the fact the description in the book of the operation of a transistor is not correct.
Other key parts in the book are mentioned and passed over quickly, but items of not much relevance are described in more detail.
I think the main problem is that the book is written by a journalist - the story definitely has the feel of a journalist, rather than a pure author. It's disappointing as a story, but it is interesting to anyone wanting to know about Shockley or the invention of the transistor.
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