Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Review of "My Inventions," Nikola Tesla

 Review of

My Inventions, Nikola Tesla ISBN 9781789500783

Four out of five stars

Short description of an incredible inventor

 When people talk about great American inventors, the name Thomas Edison always emerges first, and rightfully so. Yet, there was one man that could have challenged Edison if he would have had significant financial backing. That person was Nikola Tesla, not only was he an incredible inventor he was also a futurist. This book is a brief autobiography of his life and work.

 For example, in 1898, Tesla demonstrated a remote controlled boat and tried to sell it to the U. S. military in order to remotely control torpedoes. They showed little interest, once again illustrating that the military is rarely futuristic in thought. One can engage in fascinating speculation about an attack of enemy trenches in the western front in Europe being carried out by remote controlled bombs. Such as attack being carried out by machines instead of waves of men attacking machine guns could have led to major victories.

 Tesla used the term “telautomata” to refer to the machines he envisioned, including the ability to launch the equivalent of guided missiles against an enemy. This is the subject of the last pages of the book. Tesla was subject to periodic bouts of major illness and he chronicles those episodes. He does spend time describing his inventions, but the reader is left wanting far more. One key omission is the personal animosity between Edison and Tesla.

 Tesla, while he was a futurist, was also a first-rate electrical and mechanical engineer, so he had some idea as to how the telautomata machines would be constructed. One never knows how far he could have gone or what the consequences for history would have been if Tesla would have been given more support.

 This is a good, but far too short book about the life of Nikola Tesla, one of the most talented inventors the world has ever seen.

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