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Alexander Graham Bell


Here is the dramatic story of the race to invent the telephone and how Bell's patent would become the most valuable ever issued. The authors also write of Bell's other extraordinary inventions: the first transmission of sound over light waves, metal detector, first practical phonograph, and early airplanes, including the first to fly in Canada. And they examine Bell's humanitarian efforts, including support for women's suffrage, civil rights, and speeches about what he warned would be a "greenhouse effect" of pollution causing global warming.

Edwin Grosvenor is American Heritage's editor-in-chief and Bell's great-grandson. Morgan Wesson is a filmmaker and journalist in upstate New York.


"The invention of the telephone is one of the most celebrated events in American history... rarely have
inventor and invention been better served."
– New York Times Book Review

"Brings Bell's creativity boldly to life."
– Scientific American

"A splendidly engaging narrative of Bell's life and work."
– BookNews

"Paying attention both to Bell's public life as an inventor and his personal life as a husband, father, and
grandfather, the authors of this biography offer an engaging portrait of a truly impressive man."
– Christian Science Monitor

"Great inventors tend to become so closely identified with their most famous invention that their very lives become obscured. As this terse, admiring assessment of Bell's (1847-1922) life makes clear, the telephone--his greatest accomplishment and a leading invention of the 19th century--represented only one element in his long and restless career. He also devised the first practical phonograph and did important work on aviation in its infancy. This shy, amiable man also headed the National Geographic Society, was an outspoken proponent of civil rights, and worried publicly about the impact of technology on the environment. Grosvenor, Bell's great-grandson, and Wesson, a documentary filmmaker, offer a useful overview of Bell's professional achievements, succinct descriptions of his ideas, and a lively account of the telephone's impact on American society. A succinct portrait of a decent man and a remarkable scientist. (Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection; History Book Club alternate selection)
– Kirkus Reviews

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