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The Inventor and the Tycoon (2013)

by Edward Ball

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2751168,297 (3.24)17
The story of Eadweard Muybridge, inventor of stop-motion photography and moving pictures--who was also a murderer--and his relationship with Leland Stanford, the wealthy railroad baron and founder of Stanford University.
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More or less the story of the strange relationship between railroad magnate Leland Stanford and solitary photographer Eadweard Muybridge. I thought I'd like it - the time period and subject matter are right up my alley - but honestly, this book is kind of a mess. Not only is it not told in chronological order, it seems to be more or less on the author's whims, to the point where a lot of things need to be explained two or three times because they were last mentioned several chapters prior to the point at which they became relevant to the narrative. I started thinking maybe the book was written as the author was researching, with the facts presented in the order he found them. He also overuses the word "impresario". Not recommended. ( )
  melydia | Jul 19, 2019 |
The strange and innumerable circumstances that bring two disparate people into each others' lives at just the right time are miraculous; and yet we can find evidence of these types of meetings throughout history. This story brings together two such men during a time of technological explosion and great scientific discovery. Each man's story was interesting on its own and is worthy of being told to future generations. However, in the short time where they came together, magic happened. When novel ideas and ingenuity meet adequate funding... the world is changed. In the case of Stanford and Mybridge, it was changed irrevocably and set the human race on its path to the future we currently inhabit. ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
This work is about the Gilded Age and the birth of moving pictures. It describes an unlikely pair, the inventor of movies, and wealthy investor Leland Stanford. One was a killer; one was a dilettante. The work is well researched but equally well written and makes an intriguing read. Stanford was the reluctant public figure whereas our photographer was the itinerant publicity hound. The author makes an interesting case about Edison's reliance on the dilettante's idea for motion pictures. Their meetings even suggested the idea of synchronizing film and sound although the invention and combination of the two inventions were perfected long after both of the men met. The heart of the book remains the intriguing case of a blatant murderer who was acquitted and continued his erstwhile reinventions and career.

  gmicksmith | Nov 27, 2016 |
This book was interesting, but so disorganized. I learned a lot - about Leland Stanford, early photography, and the birth of motion pictures - but it was difficult to follow this disjointed story. I truly wish the author had simply told the tale chronologically, instead of jumping around with the murder trial as his focal point.
  wagner.sarah35 | Sep 12, 2016 |
An interesting look at the not so reputable man who invented moving pictures and Leland Stanford who encouraged him to do so. The back story was tedious, but the actual invention portion was good. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Mr. Ball details the story of the two men's [celebrated photographer Eadweard Muybridge and businessman, politician and philanthropist Leland Stanford] long association with sympathy and flair, yet he can't quite make a wholly convincing case for the significance of Muybridge in the one arena in which some people claim he was central: the invention of moving pictures.
added by sgump | editWall Street Journal, Simon Winchester (Feb 7, 2012)
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