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Executioner's current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the invention of the electric chair

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Average Rating
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf,
Pub. Date:
[2002]
Edition:
1st ed.
Language:
English
Description
The amazing story of how the electric chair developed not out of the desire for a method of execution more humane than hanging but of an effort by one nineteenth century electric company to discredit the other. In 1882, Thomas Edison launched "the age of electricity" by lighting up a portion of Manhattan with his direct current (DC) system. Six years later George Westinghouse lit up Buffalo with his less expensive alternating current (AC). They quickly became locked in a battle for market share. Richard Moran shows that Edison, in order to maintain commercial dominance, set out to blacken the image of Westinghouse's AC by persuading the State of New York to electrocute condemned criminals with AC current. Westinghouse, determined to keep AC from becoming known as the "executioner's current," fought to stop the first electrocution, claiming that use of the electric chair constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The legal battle that ensued ended when the Supreme Court refused to rule. The electrocution of William Kemler went forward in New York's Auburn Pen- itentiary in August 1890--and was horribly botched. Moran makes clear how this industry tug-of-war raised many profound and disturbing questions, not only about electrocution but about the technological nature of the search for a humane method of execution. And the fundamental question, he says, remains with us today: Can execution ever be considered humane? A superbly told tale of industrial and political skullduggery that brings to light a little-known chapter of modern American history.
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ISBN:
9780375410598
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID6a3786b5-a717-088f-81d8-269b010261b9
Grouping Titleexecutioner s current thomas edison george westinghouse and the invention of the electric chair
Grouping Authormoran richard
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-07-24 17:26:10PM
Last Indexed2019-11-15 03:08:00AM

Solr Details

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authorMoran, Richard.
author_displayMoran, Richard
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item_details
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last_indexed2019-11-15T10:08:00.918Z
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literary_formNon Fiction
literary_form_fullNon Fiction
local_callnumber_basalt364.66 MOR
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primary_isbn9780375410598
publishDate2002
record_details
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:.b21192261BookBooks1st ed.EnglishAlfred A. Knopf, [2002]xxii, 271 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
recordtypegrouped_work
scoping_details_basalt
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:.b21192261.i34338408On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue116, 117, 118, 119, 120
subject_facetEdison, Thomas A. -- (Thomas Alva), -- 1847-1931
Electrocution -- United States -- History
Westinghouse, George, -- 1846-1914
title_displayExecutioner's current : Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the invention of the electric chair
title_fullExecutioner's current : Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the invention of the electric chair / Richard Moran
title_shortExecutioner's current
title_subThomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the invention of the electric chair
topic_facetEdison, Thomas A
Electrocution
History
Westinghouse, George