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The Inventor of Stereo: The Life and Works of Alan Dower Blumlein Paperback – 3 Aug 2001
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'This book is the long-awaited biography of Alan Blumlein, a true genius. I highly recommend it. Pro sound engineers, design engineers and audiophiles will find it fascinating.'
Bruce Bartlett, Pro Audio Review
'Fascinating man, fascinating inventions, fascinating story behind the 30 year wait for a biography. We recommend you read it - our congratulations to the author.'
Everyday Practical Electronics, November 1999
'Thanks for the quick delivery of the Blumlein book, for which we have been waiting at least 25 years! ... In the audio community, every enthusiast will wish to own this book.'
Audio Amateur Incorporated, September 1999
'One of the most complete accounts of the development of Blumlein's invention. A fine tribute which must be considered a standard reference.'
Gramophone, 1999 Awards Issue
'Through extraordinary hard work, Alexander has now raised this man [Blumlein] from the dead.'
New Scientist, October 1999
'This is a 'must read' book ... I found it quite impossible to put down.'
Line Up, October/November 1999
'I recommend this book for all aspiring - and those of us in need of inspiring - engineers'
Studio Sound, December 1999
'The Inventor of Stereo reads at times like a spy novel, with Blumlein as one of the main characters... Engaging, enlightening and only slightly nerdy, The Inventor of Stereo is a fascinating and enjoyable read.'
Mix magazine, February 2000
'I sincerely doubt if anyone will ever better this book on the subject of Blumlein.'
405 Alive magazine, issue 43
From the Publisher
'Fascinating man, fascinating inventions, fascinating story behind the 30 year wait for a biography. We recommend you read it - our congratulations to the author.' Everyday Practical Electronics, November 1999
'Thanks for the quick delivery of the Blumlein book, for which we have been waiting at least 25 years! ... In the audio community, every enthusiast will wish to own this book.' Audio Amateur Incorporated, September 1999 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Apparently, a biography was years in coming and then in 1999 Robert Alexander published his followed by another by Russell Burns in 2000. I bought both books and devoured them as they have positive and negative aspects to both. The Burns book concentrates on electrical engineering and has a rather long-winded slow way of getting the points across. The Alexander book is a much easier read and I liked the way that it stuck to a chronological format.
Alexander concentrates on audio engineering and radar and his technical coverage of these two subjects is quite faultless. I found that this book was very hard to put down, which is always the best compliment I think a reader can pay an author.
I would have liked more detail with regard to the television period, especially the pre-war coverage of the 1937 Coronation.
On the whole I think that this book is readable enough to appeal to anybody who is looking for information of a technical or non-technical on Blumlein. You can read it on two levels, follow the storyline which in the Alexander book is fascinating and pervasive throughout - and totally lacking in the Burns book. Also, for the more advanced or scholar of Blumlein and his achievements there is everything you could possibly want with exhaustive coverage of all 128 of Blumlein's patents.
A truly great book and I congratulate the author for his work. Long overdue, but then sometimes in life the best things are worth waiting for.
Since then, I have been waiting for a biography as accessible as this one. It describes the science of Blumlein's work in an understandable way so we are better able to grasp his contribution to his fields of endeavour - particularly binaural (or 'stereo') sound reproduction.
The level of detail in the cause of Blumlein's untimely death may seem a little too much but it is a good indicator of the level of thoroughness and enthusiasm that Alexander brings to bear on his subject.
An excellent and enjoyable read! Well worth it.
He's famous for inventing major portions of almost every pre-war electronic invention that's still significant; long distance telephony, stereo sound, electronically scanned TV and finally microwave radar. Sadly this led to his death in a wartime aircrash, test-flying a highly secret H2S radar set.
It's hard to say where this book goes wrong, but somehow it never manages to capture the enthusiasm that any reader will begin to expect is due. Blumlein himself was an amateur pilot and quite an adventurer, yet the book portrays him as someone who never left the lab. Each invention is portrayed with enough detail to bore the uninterested, yet is still vague enough to annoy the technophile and certainly not to inform them.
The final section is on the fatal aircrash itself, treated with a plane-spotter's attention to detail. If only this detail could have been applied to some of the innovation earlier on, then the book might at least have satisfied those interested in the electronics.
Blumlein still deserves a better biography.
I've now read it twice and have lent it to a friend who, like myself, is not an engineer or technical in any way, yet simply gets drawn in by one of the most fascinating British lives that it seems history has all but passed by.
This is not a book that takes you on a long drawn out journey through chronological events, but a seamless passage through a life cut tragically short at the age of just 38. Blumlein was a genius, of that I have little doubt, but quite how one mind can conceive of stereo, television, radar and a host of other inventions, and in such a short period of time, is quite beyond me.
I would recommend this book to anybody, whether they are technically minded or not. If you are able to come to grips with the elements of mathematics and acoustics then you will not be let down here, as Alexander explains all in manner which the layman can come to understand, and the expert enjoy.
However, if you just want an absolutely fascinating read, and discover a life which has remained hidden from society through a series of catastrophic and unfortunate events - not to mention government secrecy and cover-up - then this is the book for you.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and rate it among the better biographies that I have read.
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