"A Streak Of Luck" by Robert Conot is about the life and times of Thomas Alva Edison. This marvelous book has it all: pathos, humor, science, invention, discovery, art, and money... No other time has had the volume of life-changing revolutionary invention as in the years 1878 to 1908. That era was astounding for the ingenuity coming from every direction. And the money coming from every direction, too. Edison would sign a piece of paper stating he would experiment in some field (electromotive transportation) and the backers would give him, say, $50,000- in 1889! Then he would get absorbed in some other venture and when nothing was forthcoming the backers would sell the promissory contract to other backers and Edison would get even more money.
He nearly went bankrupt around that time tearing-up the east coast, strip mining, in search of cheap, abundant iron ore and residual metals with gigantic, monstrous electro-magnets separating the iron from the huge piano-sized boulders that were crushed in his stories-high contraption with rotating steel drums the size of semi-trailers. The resounding debacle could be heard for miles. He was bent on becoming even wealthier than Andrew Carnegie but the iron on that part of the mud ball was of pitifully poor quality. Then they discovered the massive iron deposits in Duluth and it did him in. We don't move half as fast as the people did back then with our trite little "discoveries". Anyway, it's breath-taking reading because everyday something was being discovered that would change our lives forever.
About the author
Robert Ernst Conot (June 25, 1929 - November 16, 2011) was an American journalist and historian. He is the author of a 1967 book on the Watts Riots (Rivers of Blood, Years of Darkness, which, according to WorldCat, is held in 1147 libraries. The report caught the attention of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, which appointed him to edit the historical section of the commission's report. Conot is also known for a biography of Thomas Edison that was among the first works to take issue with the "Edison myth" (A Streak of Luck); it is held in 2023 libraries He also wrote a comprehensive volume on the Nuremberg Trials Justice at Nuremberg, which is held in over 2400 libraries )