Book Summary: Bedtime Biography_ Edison by Edmund Morris

In his book “Bedtime Biography: Edison,” Edmund Morris delves into the life of one of America’s most prolific inventors, Thomas Edison. The book provides an intimate look at Edison’s life, from his humble beginnings as a newsboy to his rise as a successful inventor and businessman. Throughout the book, Morris paints a vivid picture of Edison’s personality, his work ethic, and his impact on American society.

Chapter 1: The Early Years

The first chapter of the book introduces readers to Edison’s early years. Born in 1847 in Milan, Ohio, Edison was the youngest of seven children. His father, Samuel Edison, was a train conductor and a former farmer, while his mother, Nancy Elliot Edison, was a homemaker. Edison’s childhood was marked by poverty and hardship, as his family moved frequently in search of work. Despite these challenges, Edison developed a love for learning and reading at an early age.

Chapter 2: The Newsboy

At the age of 13, Edison moved to Detroit to work as a newsboy. He sold newspapers on the street corners and developed a reputation for being hardworking and honest. Edison also began to develop his skills as an inventor, creating a device that automatically separated the good coins from the bad ones. This invention helped him make some extra money and gained him recognition in the local community.

Chapter 3: The Telegraph

In 1863, Edison got his first job as a telegraph operator. He worked long hours and quickly became one of the best operators in the business. Edison’s work as a telegraph operator also introduced him to the world of electricity, which would become a major theme in his later inventions.

Chapter 4: The Inventor

Edison’s career as an inventor began in earnest in the 1870s. He patented his first invention, an improved telegraph machine, in 1869. Over the next decade, Edison would go on to invent the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, and the electric generator, among other things. Edison’s work as an inventor made him a household name and earned him the nickname “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” after the New Jersey town where he set up his laboratory.

Chapter 5: The Businessman

In addition to his work as an inventor, Edison was also a successful businessman. He founded several companies, including the Edison Electric Light Company and the Edison Phonograph Company, which helped to popularize his inventions. Edison was also a shrewd negotiator and was able to secure patents and licensing deals for many of his inventions. Despite his success as a businessman, Edison remained focused on his work as an inventor and continued to experiment and innovate throughout his life.

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Conclusion

In “Bedtime Biography: Edison,” Edmund Morris provides readers with an engaging and informative look at the life of Thomas Edison. Throughout the book, Morris highlights Edison’s work ethic, his creativity, and his impact on American society. Whether you are a fan of history, science, or simply a good biography, “Bedtime Biography: Edison” is a must-read.

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