On July 20 in Akron, OH, Neil Baldwin, Ph.D. '73, shared the spotlight with the spirit of the country's most famous inventor, Thomas Alva Edison.
Baldwin, whose Edison biography is drawing rave reviews, was keynote speaker at the opening of Inventure Place, National Inventors Hall of Fame, in Akron.
Baldwin's Edison: Inventing the Century is an admiring but candid portrait of this compelling figure in American history. Baldwin places the Ohio-born genius in a context defined by the leading figures of the day, accenting Edison's creativity, complex personality and anticipation of modern-day questions about the impact of technology. "He lifted the lid of Pandora's box," said Baldwin, "and released a permanent legacy of questions about the art of invention."
Baldwin had unprecedented access to the Edison family papers and also drew on years of research at the Edison corporate archives. "Neil Baldwin's highly-readable biography does not tear down the familiar myth so much as fill it out," said the Los Angeles Times. "Edison has been the subject of many earlier biographical studies, yet Mr. Baldwin sees more clearly than the rest how Edison's own life was his greatest invention," added The Wall Street Journal.
The book is a selection of the-Book-of-the-Month Club, History Book Club and Quality Paperback Book Club. On Oct. 23, Baldwin will appear in a PBS documentary on Edison as part of "The American Experience" series.
Baldwin is the author of two other biographies, To All Gentleness: William Carlos Williams, the Doctor-Poet and Man Ray: American Artist. He is executive director of the National Book Foundation, which administers the National Book Awards and numerous literary programs.