The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret cover

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Title: The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret
Author: Seth Shulman
Number of Pages: (256 pages)
Publication date: Thursday January 17, 2008
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ASIN: B003772KB0
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Book Review

"[A] page-turner…The Telephone Gambit is solid history, and Seth Shulman makes it as much fun to read as an Agatha Christie whodunit." —John Steele Gordon, Wall Street Journal


Throughout his career, Alexander Graham Bell, one of the world’s most famous inventors, was plagued by a secret: he stole the key idea behind the invention of the telephone.


While researching at MIT, science journalist Seth Shulman scrutinized Bell’s journals and within them found the smoking gun, a hint of deeply buried historical deception. Bell furtively—and illegally—copied part of Elisha Gray’s patent caveat in the race to secure what would become the most valuable U.S. patent ever issued. Delving further into Bell’s story, Shulman unearths the surprising truth behind the telephone—and with it, a tale of romance, corruption, and unchecked ambition. The Telephone Gambit challenges the reputation of an icon of invention, rocks the foundation of a corporate behemoth, and offers a probing meditation on how little we know about our own history.

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, January 2008: Seth Shulman closely examines the race to build the first telephone and uncovers potential bombshells with The Telephone Gambit. Although Alexander Graham Bell is widely accepted as the father of the telephone (despite the fact that rival inventor Elisha Gray submitted a similar claim the same day Bell filed his patent), Schulman provides intriguing evidence questioning if the scales were deliberately tipped in Alexander's favor. Was the venerable inventor party to theft from Gray's own research? Or are such accusations merely sour grapes from a bitterly contested legal battle? Fraught with controversy, conspiracy, and possible chicanery, Shulman spins real-life Da Vinci Code drama around one of the most influential inventions of the modern era. --Dave Callanan

Product Description

"[A] page-turner…The Telephone Gambit is solid history, and Seth Shulman makes it as much fun to read as an Agatha Christie whodunit." —John Steele Gordon, Wall Street Journal


Throughout his career, Alexander Graham Bell, one of the world’s most famous inventors, was plagued by a secret: he stole the key idea behind the invention of the telephone.


While researching at MIT, science journalist Seth Shulman scrutinized Bell’s journals and within them found the smoking gun, a hint of deeply buried historical deception. Bell furtively—and illegally—copied part of Elisha Gray’s patent caveat in the race to secure what would become the most valuable U.S. patent ever issued. Delving further into Bell’s story, Shulman unearths the surprising truth behind the telephone—and with it, a tale of romance, corruption, and unchecked ambition. The Telephone Gambit challenges the reputation of an icon of invention, rocks the foundation of a corporate behemoth, and offers a probing meditation on how little we know about our own history.

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