CELEBRATE THE PUBLICATION OF EDISON BY EDMUND MORRIS

Press Release 10/4/19

(Kent, Connecticut) –Kent Memorial Library and House of Books invite you to join Sylvia Jukes Morris and Christopher Buckley for a reception to celebrate the publication of EDISON by Edmund Morris with remarks by Mrs. Morris and a brief reading by Mr. Buckley. This event in celebration of Edmund Morris will take place from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 2, at House of Books, 4 North Main Street in Kent.

About the book: From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris comes a revelatory new biography of Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific genius in American history.

Although Thomas Alva Edison was the most famous American of his time, and remains an international name today, he is mostly remembered only for the gift of universal electric light. His invention of the first practical incandescent lamp 140 years ago so dazzled the world—already reeling from his invention of the phonograph and dozens of other revolutionary devices—that it cast a shadow over his later achievements. In all, this near-deaf genius (“I haven’t heard a bird sing since I was twelve years old”) patented 1,093 inventions, not including others, such as the X-ray fluoroscope, that he left unlicensed for the benefit of medicine.

One of the achievements of this staggering new biography, the first major life of Edison in more than twenty years, is that it portrays the unknown Edison—the philosopher, the futurist, the chemist, the botanist, the wartime defense adviser, the founder of nearly 250 companies—as fully as it deconstructs the Edison of mythological memory. Edmund Morris, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, brings to the task all the interpretive acuity and literary elegance that distinguished his previous biographies of Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Ludwig van Beethoven. A trained musician, Morris is especially well equipped to recount Edison’s fifty-year obsession with recording technology and his pioneering advances in the synchronization of movies and sound. Morris sweeps aside conspiratorial theories positing an enmity between Edison and Nikola Tesla and presents proof of their mutually admiring, if wary, relationship.

Enlightened by seven years of research among the five million pages of original documents preserved in Edison’s huge laboratory at West Orange, New Jersey, and privileged access to family papers still held in trust, Morris is also able to bring his subject to life on the page—the adored yet autocratic and often neglectful husband of two wives and father of six children. If the great man who emerges from it is less a sentimental hero than an overwhelming force of nature, driven onward by compulsive creativity, then Edison is at last getting his biographical due.

 About Edmund Morris: Edmund Morris (May 27, 1940 – May 24, 2019) was born and educated in Kenya and went to college in South Africa. He worked as an advertising copywriter in London before immigrating to the United States in 1968. His biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award in 1980. Theodore Rex followed in 2001, and Colonel Roosevelt in 2010, so completing his three-volume life of Theodore Roosevelt. Morris was President Reagan’s authorized biographer and wrote the national bestseller Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan in 1999. He is also the author of Beethoven: The Universal Composer (2005), and This Living Hand (2012), a collection of essays. He has written extensively on travel and the arts for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Harper’s. He lived in New York and Connecticut with his wife and fellow biographer Sylvia Jukes Morris.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information, call 860-927-3761 or go to the Library’s online calendar at kentmemoriallibrary.org.

House of Books, located at 4 North Main Street, features a large selection of current releases, literature and children’s books in addition to a carefully curated selection of cards, gifts, calendars, reading glasses and journals. info@hobooks.com

The Kent Memorial Library’s mission is to enrich the lives of individuals and the community by providing materials, programs, and services to encourage reading, learning and imagination. The Library is located at 32 North Main Street, Kent, Connecticut. Visit kentmemoriallibrary.org for more information.