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Decatur Book Festival - The Age of Edison | Ernest Freeberg

This event is free and open to the public.
RSVPs are not required.
Refer to this Festival webpage for the most up-to-date information.


The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America
Ernest Freeberg

In The Age of Edison, the newest volume of the award-winning Penguin History of American Life series, Ernest Freeberg places the story of Edison’s invention in the context of a technological revolution that transformed America and Europe in these decades.

To modern readers, electric light is so common that its remarkable qualities are buried under a thick layer of the obvious. We have forgotten the excitement and wonder that Americans felt when they saw electric light for the first time, their giddy sense that they were witnessing the birth of a new age. But Freeberg shows that people were not simply passive consumers of Edison’s “miraculous” new light; rather, they played an active role in its creation. In myriad ways, they grappled with its meaning and used their own powers of invention to adapt the technology to a full spectrum of new uses that no single inventor, no matter how far-sighted, could have anticipated. Electric light changed the pace of city life and the nature of work and play, and stimulated countless innovations that changed every aspect of American life.

About the author
Ernest Freeberg is a distinguished professor of humanities in the history department at the University of Tennessee. He is the author of The Education of Laura Bridgman and Democracy’s Prisoner, which was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and winner of the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History and the Eli M. Oboler Award from the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Roundtable. Freeberg is a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and has produced a number of public radio documentaries on historical themes.

Kristie Macrakis

Kristie MacrakisProfessor
School of History, Technology and Society
Georgia Institute of Technology

Kristie Macrakis is a Professor in the School of History, Technology and Society at Georgia Tech, specializing in the history of the science of espionage. She holds a PhD from Harvard University and is the author of numerous articles and books, including most recently Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World. Kristie’s new book, Prisoners, Lovers and Spies: the Story of Invisible Ink from Herodotus to Al-Qaeda, will appear in Spring 2014.

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