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Thank You to our Sponsors!

Agnes Scott College Atlanta Pro AV City of Decatur Emory University Jabian Lenz Marketing Mail Chimp Public Broadcasting Atlanta

Anonymous

Book Logix Publishing Services
Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta
DeKalb County Public Library
Emory Libraries
Georgia State University
Verb
Visit South Walton
The Art Institute of Atlanta - Decatur
Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center
Atlanta History Center
Atlanta Writers Club
Carlos Museum
Champion Windows
Classis Tents and Events

Dawn and Lee Walker Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Decatur Arts Alliance
Decatur Education Foundation
Decatur Rotary Club
Devry
Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association
Georgia Humanities Council
Georgia Tech Library

The Hightower Fund

Jim Ellis
Ketel One
M.L. Malcolm
On the Same Page
Sparkling Ice
Uber
UGA Press

Ernest Freeberg

Festival Appearance:

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.

Books

The Age of Edison

The Age of Edison, 2013

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 -- from sleep patterns to surgery, shopping to polar exploration, baseball fields to battlefields. As artificial light spread through the culture in the late 19th century, men and women were both eager and anxious about these changes -- just as we are today when we hear about the latest technological gadget. By tracing the role that incandescent light played in the pivotal decades when our modern urban and commercial culture was born, we can better understand the sources of our country’s great technological creativity, and appreciate that inventions are not simply conjured up by great men like Edison, but evolve as they are shaped by a variety of political, economic and cultural forces. In The Age of Edison, Freeberg weaves a narrative that reaches from Coney Island and Broadway to the tiniest towns of rural America, tracing the progress of electric light through the reactions of everyone who saw it. It is a quintessentially American story of ingenuity, ambition, and possibility, in which the greater forces of progress and change are made visible by one of our most humble and ubiquitous objects.