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This title in other editions

Executioner's Current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of the Electric Chair

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Executioner's Current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of the Electric Chair Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this amazing story of high stakes competition between two titans, Richard Moran shows how the electric chair developed not out of the desire to be more humane but through an effort by one nineteenth-century electric company to discredit the other.

In 1882, Thomas Edison ushered in the “age of electricity” when he illuminated Manhattans Pearl Street with his direct current (DC) system. Six years later, George Westinghouse lit up Buffalo with his less expensive alternating current (AC). The two men quickly became locked in a fierce rivalry, made all the more complicated by a novel new application for their product: the electric chair. When Edison set out to persuade the state of New York to use Westinghouses current to execute condemned criminals, Westinghouse fought back in court, attempting to stop the first electrocution and keep AC from becoming the “executioners current.” In this meticulously researched account of the ensuing legal battle and the horribly botched first execution, Moran raises disturbing questions not only about electrocution, but about about our societys tendency to rely on new technologies to answer moral questions.

Review:

"A remarkable account…A fantastic tale, well told." Forbes

Review:

"Riveting. . . . Moran [has a] lively reportorial style. . . . In this narrative of callous ambition and hypocrisy, a condemned criminal plays an unexpectedly dignified role." Seattle Weekly

Review:

"Chilling. . . A 'Coke-versus-Pepsi' story as if told by Stephen King… A macabre jolt of history." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"Compelling. . . . Reads like pages torn from today's headlines about nefarious CEOs and corporate greed." Albany Times Union

About the Author

Richard Moran is professor of sociology at Mount Holyoke College and the author of Knowing Right from Wrong: The Insanity Defense of Daniel McNaughtan and numerous articles and reviews. He has also served as a commentator for National Public Radios Morning Edition and written op-eds for the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375724466
Author:
Moran, Richard
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Location:
New York
Subject:
Penology
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Electrocution.
Subject:
US History-19th Century
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Series Volume:
68/03
Publication Date:
20031131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
22 ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
7.98x5.18x.65 in. .63 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » Criminology
History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology

Executioner's Current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of the Electric Chair New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375724466 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A remarkable account…A fantastic tale, well told."
"Review" by , "Riveting. . . . Moran [has a] lively reportorial style. . . . In this narrative of callous ambition and hypocrisy, a condemned criminal plays an unexpectedly dignified role."
"Review" by , "Chilling. . . A 'Coke-versus-Pepsi' story as if told by Stephen King… A macabre jolt of history."
"Review" by , "Compelling. . . . Reads like pages torn from today's headlines about nefarious CEOs and corporate greed."
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