Move over, Thomas Edison! Nikola Tesla takes the spotlight in a biography of the man who pioneered modern electrical engineering -- and changed the course of history.
When a Serbian boy named Nikola Tesla was three, he stroked his cat and was enchanted by the electrical sparks. By the time he was a teenager, he had made a vow: Someday I will turn the power of Niagara Falls into electricity. Here is the story of the ambitious young man who brought life-changing ideas to America, despite the obstructive efforts of his hero-turned-rival, Thomas Edison. From using alternating current to light up the Chicago World's Fair to harnessing Niagara to electrify New York City and beyond, Nikola Tesla was a revolutionary ahead of his time. Remote controls, fluorescent lights, X-rays, speedometers, cell phones, even the radio -- all resulted from Nikola Tesla's inventions. Established biographer Elizabeth Rusch sheds light on this extraordinary figure, while fine artist Oliver Dominguez brings his life and inventions to vivid color.
Back matter includes additional information about Tesla, scientific notes and explanations, source notes, a bibliography, and suggestions for further reading.
Grades 3-5. Thomas Edison’s name may be better known, but as the man who made alternating current a practical means of delivering electrical power, Tesla has had a far greater influence on our world. Rusch highlights the Serbian-born inventor’s lifelong fascination with electricity as she traces his training, bitter rivalry with Edison (whose attempts to market direct current as the “safer” choice ultimately failed), and the spectacular triumph wiring the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Along with lucid explanations of AC’s advantages over DC, Rusch closes with an analysis of Tesla’s significance, plus simplified descriptions of his best-known demonstrations and devices—prefaced by a cogent, strongly worded warning about fiddling with electrical current. There’s also a bountiful resource list. Less illuminating is the graphite and gouache art, which has lightning striking low spots rather than higher ones and shows Tesla arriving in New York as the Brooklyn Bridge was being built (he actually arrived a year after it opened). Still, this may be the first time readers have met Tesla, and this portrait gives them a solid appreciation for his talents and achievements. Ed: needs cataloging.