Brilliance is the story of a very brilliant man who is looking back on his life. Despite his many inventions and his perfecting of the inventions of others, Thomas Alva Edison finds himself close to losing his home and laboratory. This is the part of his life when everything changes for him and the impact on humanity and the future as we know it is beginning.

His fortunes change when he meets J.P. Morgan and, with his financing as well as the Vanderbilt backing, is able to bring electricity to the public. He is installing electrical stations using his DC (direct current) system while his adversary George Westinghouse is promoting AC (alternating current). In an effort to get the public and the investors to back his DC electricity for businesses and residents, Edison starts a ghoulish propaganda campaign against Westinghouse by executing animals using DC current, calling this invention the “Westinghouse electric chair.” This defames the man as well as the current and brings to the criminal justice system a “humane” way of execution. Edison’s deafness was not his only flaw; he proved to have a flawed character as well.

This book was a fictional work based on the history of Edison. I questioned whether he had a hand in the invention of the zipper, as the author suggests, and found I was correct in my assumption that the genius invented many things, but not the zipper. It is a quick read, not being a very long book, and I found it entertaining and enjoyable.

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