Will You Read The Inventor and the Tycoon by Edward Ball?
Will You Read: The Inventor and the Tycoon by Edward Ball;
Doubleday; January 22, 2013; 464 pages.
Summary: Edward Ball writes the story of two American originals, Eadweard Muybridge and Leland Stanford. Stanford is perhaps best known for the college that bears his name, but back in the nineteenth century, he was quite the celebrity. He opened the West by extending the railroads, governed California, and sponsored the eccentric photographer Muybridge during his early film experiments and murder trial. Yep, Muybridge killed his wife’s lover. He also put on one of the first motion picture shows in 1880, well before Edison took over the technology. Through Muybridge’s and Stanford’s long relationship, they would change the movies, the West, and the culture of celebrity. In other words, they were consummate Californians.
The Critics Say: In “The Inventor and the Tycoon,” Ball…has brilliantly fused the stories of these two larger-than-life figures into a single glittering object: part social-cultural history, part melodrama, part chronicle of American self-invention. -Dan Cryer, Boston Globe
Also by This Author: Slaves in the Family; The Genetic Strand: Exploring a Family History through DNA.
Books Like This: The Octopus: A California Story by Frank Norris; The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California by Richard Rayner; River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West by Rebecca Solnit.
My Gut Reaction: As a historian and a California-phile, I am very excited to learn more about Muybridge and Stanford. This does not sound like some dry recounting either, the story, as told by Ball, has all of the elements of an epic. There’s a murder trial, a crazy capitalist, and the birth of a new technology that would transform the world. It’s such an exciting story, I’m surprised Hollywood hasn’t optioned this one yet.