Benjamin Franklin famously flew a kite in a thunderstorm in 1752, an occasion on which he proved that lightning and electricity were one. But was Franklin's story merely a hoax to get revenge on the scientific establishment? Bolt of Fate investigates this and other 18th century experiments.
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Tom Tucker is an award winning author who writes often about the history of invention. His most recent publication The Eclipse Project was issued by NASA, the result of a fellowship administered by NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and Stanford University. He lives in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, with his family.From Publishers Weekly:
According to Tucker, who writes on the history of invention, Benjamin Franklin's "multifaceted genius" had a hidden side: "He was also a splendid master of the hoax." And, notes Tucker, Franklin had reason to perpetrate a hoax on the scientific establishment, then embodied in Britain's Royal Society, where the colonial printer was not taken seriously as a scientist. Franklin's legendary electric kite experiment, Tucker asserts, was a myth propagated by Franklin himself that had repercussions even for the Revolution: the British feared that Franklin had created an electric superweapon that, in the words of Franklin's contemporary, Horace Walpole, "would reduce St. Paul's to a handful of ashes." Tucker bases his hoax theory on a reading of primary sources. A Franklin revival seems to be underway, and readers may want to read this heterodox study along with more general portraits of the man, such as Edmund Morgan's recent Benjamin Franklin and Walter Isaacson's forthcoming biography, due out in July. Illus.
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Book Description Sutton Publishing Ltd, London, 2004. Hardcover, illus. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First English Edition; First Printing. New. No notes, names, or ANY markings. DJ not price clipped (£20) ; 297 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 49341
Book Description Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1980. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0750936800
Book Description Sutton, 2004 9780750936804, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Included. NEW hardback in d/w. 297 pages. B/w illustrations. From the blurb: "Benjamin Franklin is an undisputed hero of the United States and, indeed, of Western democracy. The son of a candle-maker, he used his talents and abilities to rise in colonial American society and became a signatory of the US constitution and a Founding Father of the Republic. Politician, philanthropist, scientist, author, nespwperman and inventor, he was also a master hoxer. Bolt of Fate deals with one of the most far-reaching of these hoaxes, one that until now had nor even beend suspected of being a hoax. It is widelty known that Benjamin Franklin flew a kite during a thunderstorm in the summer of 1752. Electricity from the clouds above travelled down the kit's twine and threw a spark from a key that Franklin had attached to the string. He thereby proved that lightning and electricity were one. Yet what no one has proven until now, and what few have suggested, is that Franklin never flew the kite at all.". Tom Tucker is an award-winning author who writes about the history of invention, and is the author of The Eclipse Project. Bookseller Inventory # 410