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The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies

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A “spellbinding, thriller-like” (Shelf Awareness) history about the invention of the motion picture and the mysterious, forgotten man behind it—detailing his life, work, disappearance, and legacy. The year is 1888, and Louis Le Prince is finally testing his “taker” or “receiver” device for his family on the front lawn. The device is meant to capture ten to twelve images per A “spellbinding, thriller-like” (Shelf Awareness) history about the invention of the motion picture and the mysterious, forgotten man behind it—detailing his life, work, disappearance, and legacy. The year is 1888, and Louis Le Prince is finally testing his “taker” or “receiver” device for his family on the front lawn. The device is meant to capture ten to twelve images per second on film, creating a reproduction of reality that can be replayed as many times as desired. In an otherwise separate and detached world, occurrences from one end of the globe could now be viewable with only a few days delay on the other side of the world. No human experience—from the most mundane to the most momentous—would need to be lost to history. In 1890, Le Prince was granted patents in four countries ahead of other inventors who were rushing to accomplish the same task. But just weeks before unveiling his invention to the world, he mysteriously disappeared and was never seen or heard from again. Three and half years later, Thomas Edison, Le Prince’s rival, made the device public, claiming to have invented it himself. And the man who had dedicated his life to preserving memories was himself lost to history—until now. The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures pulls back the curtain and presents a “passionate, detailed defense of Louis Le Prince…unfurled with all the cliffhangers and red herrings of a scripted melodrama” (The New York Times Book Review). This “fascinating, informative, skillfully articulated narrative” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) presents the never-before-told history of the motion picture and sheds light on the unsolved mystery of Le Prince’s disappearance.


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A “spellbinding, thriller-like” (Shelf Awareness) history about the invention of the motion picture and the mysterious, forgotten man behind it—detailing his life, work, disappearance, and legacy. The year is 1888, and Louis Le Prince is finally testing his “taker” or “receiver” device for his family on the front lawn. The device is meant to capture ten to twelve images per A “spellbinding, thriller-like” (Shelf Awareness) history about the invention of the motion picture and the mysterious, forgotten man behind it—detailing his life, work, disappearance, and legacy. The year is 1888, and Louis Le Prince is finally testing his “taker” or “receiver” device for his family on the front lawn. The device is meant to capture ten to twelve images per second on film, creating a reproduction of reality that can be replayed as many times as desired. In an otherwise separate and detached world, occurrences from one end of the globe could now be viewable with only a few days delay on the other side of the world. No human experience—from the most mundane to the most momentous—would need to be lost to history. In 1890, Le Prince was granted patents in four countries ahead of other inventors who were rushing to accomplish the same task. But just weeks before unveiling his invention to the world, he mysteriously disappeared and was never seen or heard from again. Three and half years later, Thomas Edison, Le Prince’s rival, made the device public, claiming to have invented it himself. And the man who had dedicated his life to preserving memories was himself lost to history—until now. The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures pulls back the curtain and presents a “passionate, detailed defense of Louis Le Prince…unfurled with all the cliffhangers and red herrings of a scripted melodrama” (The New York Times Book Review). This “fascinating, informative, skillfully articulated narrative” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) presents the never-before-told history of the motion picture and sheds light on the unsolved mystery of Le Prince’s disappearance.

30 review for The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    This book is a hot mess. Has it been edited? It's full of hyperbole and false drama and purple prose. The author's research is frequently questionable and sometimes lacking altogether, and it's presented in a way that gimmicky and tabloidesque. This book is a hot mess. Has it been edited? It's full of hyperbole and false drama and purple prose. The author's research is frequently questionable and sometimes lacking altogether, and it's presented in a way that gimmicky and tabloidesque.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    There was just too much technical stuff about camera lenses and the like which I skimmed over to be sure but still detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Plus I think it was overhyped. Here was no surprising solution to who killed LePrince, if he was even killed(kind of like Capone’s vault). But there was still some interesting social history surrounding the invention of the motion picture to warrant three stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Arbeit

    So much minutiae, so much needless detail, it read like a textbook. When I switched to audio, it was as if every other line contained the words “quote…..unquote” even though the female narrator dropped her voice to indicate a man was speaking. It was distracting and in fact highlighted the impression that the book was more a research project intended for photography/camera enthusiasts rather than an interesting read geared toward the general public.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Following the life, the accomplishments and the mysterious disappearance of Louis Le Prince in 1890, Paul Fischer has written a book to bring the invention of moving pictures into better focus. If you thought Edison invented moving pictures, think again. Even if you have little or no knowledge of photography, this will inform you in an easy to understand form. More than the mystery of what became of Le Prince, it's his life story and a glimpse of a pivotal time in history. Le Prince was a genius Following the life, the accomplishments and the mysterious disappearance of Louis Le Prince in 1890, Paul Fischer has written a book to bring the invention of moving pictures into better focus. If you thought Edison invented moving pictures, think again. Even if you have little or no knowledge of photography, this will inform you in an easy to understand form. More than the mystery of what became of Le Prince, it's his life story and a glimpse of a pivotal time in history. Le Prince was a genius and by 1888 he had numerous international patents for his motion picture. Well before Edison. When Le Prince vanished after boarding a train in Dijon, the stage was set for Edison to claim the prize, to rewrite motion picture history. Despite those patents, they couldn't be defended until one of two events happened - that his body be found or, after seven years when he would be declared legally dead. Using that delay to his advantage, Edison moved to become THE inventor of motion pictures. It makes for an enthralling history lesson. My thanks to the publisher Simon Schuster and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chaz

    Gave up about halfway through. The book gets really bogged down in minutia about patent applications/denials, mechanical details details about the early cameras, and other details that just kinda killed all the early momentum of the book. Kinda disappointing as it sounds like igt could be a really interesting story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sugarpuss O'Shea

    Mr Fischer is a screenwriter by trade, and at times his flowery language gets in the way of his storytelling. This should not dissuade you from reading this book. Yes, he gets 'technical' in describing cameras & processes, but he has to put into words what the reader cannot see; without these details, the reader would be unable to discern how utterly groundbreaking these discoveries were. (The word invented is in the title after all, so you shouldn't be surprised when an author actually discusse Mr Fischer is a screenwriter by trade, and at times his flowery language gets in the way of his storytelling. This should not dissuade you from reading this book. Yes, he gets 'technical' in describing cameras & processes, but he has to put into words what the reader cannot see; without these details, the reader would be unable to discern how utterly groundbreaking these discoveries were. (The word invented is in the title after all, so you shouldn't be surprised when an author actually discusses said inventions!) That being said. . . This is a story about the men who took photography from a process where a subject had to be perfectly still for 20 minutes, to capturing a moving subject and projecting these 'motion pictures' for all the world to see. It was completely mind-blowing. The fact that there were many men in this pursuit should not be surprising. But the man who invented motion pictures was not Edison, as we have all been lead to believe, but a man named Louis Le Prince. This is his story. It's tragic that Mr Le Prince didn't live to see his life's work become the international success it was destined to be. (I won't give anything away, but I tend agree with Mr Fischer's conclusions.) All in all, this is a fascinating story about how a man, without today's technology, created an entire industry completely from scratch. You'll never look at motion pictures (or Edison) the same way again.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alice Grace

    Overall Review: While I wouldn't call this one page turning because it's just not a word that seems to really fit nonfiction works, this book is definitely worth a read! Fischer's writing style is great for explaining the ins and outs of photography through to the creation of the first film camera. He has just enough creative flair that The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures reads a little more like a novel than research, and he never says he's not going to portray Thomas Edison as he (and many ot Overall Review: While I wouldn't call this one page turning because it's just not a word that seems to really fit nonfiction works, this book is definitely worth a read! Fischer's writing style is great for explaining the ins and outs of photography through to the creation of the first film camera. He has just enough creative flair that The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures reads a little more like a novel than research, and he never says he's not going to portray Thomas Edison as he (and many others) sees him. This book was interesting and taught me so many things! Plot and Setting: The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures is a nonfiction work, so we will talk about tone and how the book flows once again. Fischer's set up makes sense. Going into the work, I already knew about Le Prince's mysterious disappearance from a Paris train and the idea that Edison might have been behind it. However, even if this were news to the reader, it creates an expectation and anticipation for the series of events that follow in the book, but that happened before. From there, we start to learn about events chronologically. The whole work flows beautifully, research and direct quotes from letters and other correspondence are integrated seamlessly: it might actually be nonfiction perfection. Fischer also made it easy to follow setting by pinpointing where each location would have been or still is. If I had a map, I would definitely be able to find everywhere he mentioned. Descriptions of settings were just as clear. Writing and Themes: Fischer doesn't mince words, but he also doesn't use any more than he needs. It wasn't difficult to understand even the most technical of his camera, film, and projector explanations. The whole book was pretty easy to read, especially for nonfiction. Although it was obvious he wasn't Edison's biggest fan, he still talked about him with respect, and Fischer didn't allude to anything he didn't plan on talking through. The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures was involving and surprising. And when the summary promised "never before seen" information, Fischer delivered. The ending still has me reeling from its flawless delivery and the shift from the common dialogue discussed throughout the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -

    Review to come

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alec

    I didn’t care so much about the minutiae of the inventions, but the book was still a fun little read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    The title says it all - this is a tale of talent, obsession and where that obsession leads to and how the man at the heart of it all didn't live to see just where his obsession led to. Filled with intrigue, accusations of thievery [looking at you Thomas Edison here - this is pretty eye opening and thought-provoking and to be honest, not all that surprising], and of course movie making [including all the tech stuff that, to be honest, made my eyes glaze over]. It was an intriguing read [though to The title says it all - this is a tale of talent, obsession and where that obsession leads to and how the man at the heart of it all didn't live to see just where his obsession led to. Filled with intrigue, accusations of thievery [looking at you Thomas Edison here - this is pretty eye opening and thought-provoking and to be honest, not all that surprising], and of course movie making [including all the tech stuff that, to be honest, made my eyes glaze over]. It was an intriguing read [though to be honest, it wasn't one I was looking forward to each day - once I started listening, it was good, but getting there was never something I wanted to do]. Overall, this was a decent read - if you love movies and do not have an issue with an overwhelming amount of tech, this is the book for you. Thank you to NetGalley, Paul Fischer, and Simon and Schuster for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    With apologies to G B Shaw’s golf put-down: A fascinating story ruined. It’s morbidly obese. The author may have had accomplices in his editor and audiobook reader. Pages of digressions, flashforwards, flashbacks, lengthy passages on historical events (which sound like footnotes) with little ties to the story plus the corollary of historical background which might have been instructive to reader lacking. Names, places, etc. take notes. Very confusing. To top it off, the reader Of course, this in With apologies to G B Shaw’s golf put-down: A fascinating story ruined. It’s morbidly obese. The author may have had accomplices in his editor and audiobook reader. Pages of digressions, flashforwards, flashbacks, lengthy passages on historical events (which sound like footnotes) with little ties to the story plus the corollary of historical background which might have been instructive to reader lacking. Names, places, etc. take notes. Very confusing. To top it off, the reader Of course, this incident occurred during a raucous social soirée. builds up drama and upon coming to the big reveal drops her voice! I had to replay a passage three times. (Of course, this incident occurred during a raucous social soirée.) Perhaps pages/time could have been saved by eliminating the “quote he said”, “close quote”, “quote”, she whispered ”, “close quote”…. How this book made “The NYT” Sunday book tab would possibly make another interesting mystery.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Edison really managed to claim that he invented motion pictures, and the truth of the matter is, that he didn't. This was an eye opening look at the beginning of motion pictures. Technical? Sure. Interesting? Definitely. Edison really managed to claim that he invented motion pictures, and the truth of the matter is, that he didn't. This was an eye opening look at the beginning of motion pictures. Technical? Sure. Interesting? Definitely.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily Koelzer

    I loved this book!! It took me longer to read than I expected because it sent me down so many internet rabbit holes. Fischer did an amazing job of presenting Louis Le Prince as a hardworking hero. It's nearly impossible not to root for him and his family which makes the end of his story all the more tragic. What happened to Louis Le Prince is such a perplexing mystery but I think Fischer has a great and plausible theory. I found myself very emotionally invested in this book and can't stop sharin I loved this book!! It took me longer to read than I expected because it sent me down so many internet rabbit holes. Fischer did an amazing job of presenting Louis Le Prince as a hardworking hero. It's nearly impossible not to root for him and his family which makes the end of his story all the more tragic. What happened to Louis Le Prince is such a perplexing mystery but I think Fischer has a great and plausible theory. I found myself very emotionally invested in this book and can't stop sharing the fun facts I learned. This book can be very technical at times and literally my only issue with this book is that I wished they included more diagrams to show how some of the early cameras worked because it was a little difficult for me to visualize. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in movies and the history of invention. Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    Could not finish. I would normally devour a book of this type. Ruined by thousands of quote-unquotes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meanderer

    The book contains many quotes from original sources. One hardly notices this in the book: However a sentence like the following: The "audiobook" clearly marks each and every "quote" and "unquote". Would be read in the audiobook as follows: The quote audiobook unquote clearly marks each and every quote quote unquote and quote unquote unquote. It's unrelenting and distracting and so very irritating. This is only time in all the hundreds of audiobooks I've listened to where I would recommend that read The book contains many quotes from original sources. One hardly notices this in the book: However a sentence like the following: The "audiobook" clearly marks each and every "quote" and "unquote". Would be read in the audiobook as follows: The quote audiobook unquote clearly marks each and every quote quote unquote and quote unquote unquote. It's unrelenting and distracting and so very irritating. This is only time in all the hundreds of audiobooks I've listened to where I would recommend that readers read the book, rather than listen to the audiobook. This is the worst reading performance I have ever listened to. It's a shame because it's really a story which lends itself to being read aloud.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Simon & Schuster for an advance copy of this new book on the history of motion pictures. The history of innovation gives proof to the statement that success has many parents. Especially when that success changes the world, and helps give birth to an industry that almost one hundred fifty years later has given us Marvel Studio movies that make billions of dollars. In the creation of motion pictures many take credit. Edison who used his wealth to contro My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Simon & Schuster for an advance copy of this new book on the history of motion pictures. The history of innovation gives proof to the statement that success has many parents. Especially when that success changes the world, and helps give birth to an industry that almost one hundred fifty years later has given us Marvel Studio movies that make billions of dollars. In the creation of motion pictures many take credit. Edison who used his wealth to control patents on the work of William Kennedy Dickson, the Lumière brothers, and others. However the true first might have been a French inventor and artist who has been forgotten for many reasons, including possibly murder, Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince. Paul Fisher in his book The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies attempts to tell the life of this man, and why he disappeared from both history and his family. In 1888 Le Prince tested a device, a hand cranked single lens camera with paper negative film from Eastman, filming his family as they roamed around a garden, with more footage of his sone playing an accordion. This film was possibly the first produced, and was well ahead of other inventors and their experiments. A lack of money, and numerous problems, both business and personal held Le Prince up from capitalizing on his work, though the did patent what he could in four countries. On a simple visit to his brother Le Prince disappeared, never to be seen again. Conspiracies arose to what had become of Le Prince, was it assassins dispatched be Edison, just a simple robbery/ homicide, or was the problems to much for the man, and he fled his friends and family in a fit of madness. The family assumed foul play, trials both physical and emotional continued for years, and the mystery of Le Prince's disappearance was never solved. The book is a history of the development of the camera and motion pictures with a true crime tacked on, that does nothing for the story. The book seeks to be a Erik Larson, but the crime is not much of a story, nor does it make up for the purple prose that seems to fill the book. There is no resolution to Le Prince's disappearance. Blame is put onto a character, but there is not proof, nor even a body. There is a lot of not even circumstantial evidence, more a lot of could be, maybe. The history is interesting, but the writing is a tad clunky, and this true crime aspect is just too big of an influence on the book, for a crime that no one knows what it is. People with an interest in film will enjoy this, true crime fans might have more of a problem. There is a lot of interesting history and facts about cameras, and the innovators and inventors, and for those unaware of what Thomas Edison was really like this might come as a surprise.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marsha Valance

    The story of a pioneer in motion-picture making and his mysterious disappearance. Film producer Fischer introduces us to relatively obscure 19th-century artist and inventor Louis Augustin Le Prince, a French scientist/inventor who relocated to England and then to the U.S. to perfect & then promote his invention. Fascinated by the manipulation of photographic images, Le Prince made extraordinary advancements in cinematography and is now credited by some historians, including Fischer, as having cr The story of a pioneer in motion-picture making and his mysterious disappearance. Film producer Fischer introduces us to relatively obscure 19th-century artist and inventor Louis Augustin Le Prince, a French scientist/inventor who relocated to England and then to the U.S. to perfect & then promote his invention. Fascinated by the manipulation of photographic images, Le Prince made extraordinary advancements in cinematography and is now credited by some historians, including Fischer, as having created the first true motion pictures in the late 1880s. His suspicious disappearance in 1890, shortly before he was to unveil his revolutionary single-lens camera, allowed rival inventions to supersede his. This meant that other innovators, such as the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, and Thomas Edison, the so-called "Wizard of Menlo Park," got credit as the most important trailblazers in the field. Fischer's sketch of the historical context in which Le Prince worked—"at the end of a century when humankind had already domesticated space, light, and time"—is consistently entertaining & illuminating. The author vividly renders the personalities & science involved in the production of early cinema, & lucidly explains the complex technological challenges and breakthroughs. Particularly insightful are Fischer's interpretations of the likely motivations of Le Prince & his assistants as they attempted, under frequent financial duress, to complete a workable prototype of their camera & secure international patent protections. Also intriguing is the book's contribution to the ongoing discredit of Edison, who appears to have routinely schemed his way into taking credit for the work of others, such as Nicola Tesla & George Westinghouse. Though Fischer's ultimate conclusion about the circumstances behind Le Prince's death is speculation, he offers a plausible version of events that draws persuasively on extant historical evidence. A fascinating & informative narrative of the disappearance of a forgotten figure in cinematic history, & the resulting destruction of his family.

  18. 5 out of 5

    AnnieM

    I am a huge fan of film and film history so was very intrigued by this book - particularly because I had never hear of Louis Le Prince -- but it's not surprising because growing up in America we were led to believe that Thomas Edison was the inventor of motion pictures. Edison certainly played a role including in the commercialization and implementation of motion pictures and early theaters but was not the original inventor. I first became aware of an alternative narrative when I visited the Cin I am a huge fan of film and film history so was very intrigued by this book - particularly because I had never hear of Louis Le Prince -- but it's not surprising because growing up in America we were led to believe that Thomas Edison was the inventor of motion pictures. Edison certainly played a role including in the commercialization and implementation of motion pictures and early theaters but was not the original inventor. I first became aware of an alternative narrative when I visited the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris and the tour guide pointedly said it was the Lumiere Brothers not Edison who invented motion pictures -- at the time I wrote it off to nationalistic pride but now reading this book I learning there were many inventors (French and American and probably others) who played a crucial role in this innovation. The arc of the narrative is around the mystery of the disappearance of Louis Le Prince and possible suspects and motives revealed along the way. This book was so beautifully written, detailed, and meticulously researched that I was drawn into all of the inventors and the Le Prince family. We learn about other players such as Daguerre and Muybridge along the way too to understand all of the creative work and innovation that ultimately influenced motion picture. In the end, we see the toll and collateral damage that the disappearance of Le Prince takes on the family and I very much cared about these people. Le Prince was clearly a perfectionist and had to battle getting patents and other inventors who go "first to market." with the idea. But Le Prince had a vision -- that motion pictures will connect people to the world, to educate and to communicate human experiences and true feelings to create empathy. I could not say it anymore beautifully than that. I highly recommend this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kasia Hubbard

    To find out that Thomas Edison was such a thief of other's ideas, who would have ever thought of it? I really appreciate the way the author went into detail of all the ins and outs of the photography business and it's components, chemicals, the process in general, because the details actually mattered. Not only for the patents and lawsuits that inevitably came up during the inventive years as well as later years, but also in giving credit where credit was due, to those who were the actual invent To find out that Thomas Edison was such a thief of other's ideas, who would have ever thought of it? I really appreciate the way the author went into detail of all the ins and outs of the photography business and it's components, chemicals, the process in general, because the details actually mattered. Not only for the patents and lawsuits that inevitably came up during the inventive years as well as later years, but also in giving credit where credit was due, to those who were the actual inventors and knew their instruments well. I mean, to get the name of the invention wrong kind of points out that it might not actually be your brain child. Le Prince's story comes to life, the human aspect of his relationship with his wife and kids to the creative process of tinkering with his invention through the various phases as he was determined to bring his vison to life. It's the stories like these that get lost in time until someone brings them out of the darkness. Thank you Paul Fischer for doing just that. Le Prince's story has been well documented and I believe his family would be appreciative of getting the truth told. *I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my own opinion*

  20. 5 out of 5

    Campbell Andrews

    (4 for film enthusiasts) Picked this up before I made the connection with Mr. Fischer's last book, A Film By Kim Jong Il. He does a similar service here, unearthing and synthesizing a story that I should have been familiar with already. There's a preponderance of technical detail; while as a film buff I'm familiar with some of the terms and specs, I'm certainly no engineer and so some of the explanations I skimmed over. What I found so elucidating is how much alchemy the motion pictures took: it w (4 for film enthusiasts) Picked this up before I made the connection with Mr. Fischer's last book, A Film By Kim Jong Il. He does a similar service here, unearthing and synthesizing a story that I should have been familiar with already. There's a preponderance of technical detail; while as a film buff I'm familiar with some of the terms and specs, I'm certainly no engineer and so some of the explanations I skimmed over. What I found so elucidating is how much alchemy the motion pictures took: it was a convergence and synchronization of new technologies and theories that made it and so many inventions possible. p.s.: the two pages on Eilza Jumel by themselves are almost worth the entirety of the book. Where's her biography??! p.p.s. fitting here that my bookmark is an excised strip of an IMAX print.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pickle.

    3.75* Fascinating! The ‘new,’ later inventions (Le Prince was on the brink) of Edison’s Kinetograph, and then the Lumiere brothers must have been particularly painful and suspicious infringements for Lizzie- Louis Le Prince’s wife. “Her husbands invention ..took the world by storm....under different names...lining everyones pockets but her own family’s.” Edison deserved even greater scrutiny re. the patent wars, Le Prince’s disappearance. Maybe even Adolphe le Prince’s suicide (sadly a year befor 3.75* Fascinating! The ‘new,’ later inventions (Le Prince was on the brink) of Edison’s Kinetograph, and then the Lumiere brothers must have been particularly painful and suspicious infringements for Lizzie- Louis Le Prince’s wife. “Her husbands invention ..took the world by storm....under different names...lining everyones pockets but her own family’s.” Edison deserved even greater scrutiny re. the patent wars, Le Prince’s disappearance. Maybe even Adolphe le Prince’s suicide (sadly a year before the verdict in question was reversed).

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ernie Crofoot

    Fascinating, Intriguing, and Historically Important! As an attorney, TCM fan, and generally curious and eclectic reader, I found this book as described above. It is diligently researched and smoothly written. While not accusing anyone, it certainly exposes the truth, again, regarding the patent thievery of Edison and his team. Its real value to me was to expand my awareness of others involved in the development of moving pictures, as well as ancillary descriptions of the times and cultures repres Fascinating, Intriguing, and Historically Important! As an attorney, TCM fan, and generally curious and eclectic reader, I found this book as described above. It is diligently researched and smoothly written. While not accusing anyone, it certainly exposes the truth, again, regarding the patent thievery of Edison and his team. Its real value to me was to expand my awareness of others involved in the development of moving pictures, as well as ancillary descriptions of the times and cultures represented. A most enjoyable, educational, and thought provoking read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hugh Atkins

    This is a very good book covering the history of the invention of motion pictures. It also is a mystery involving the disappearance of one of the early inventors. Not only is this a history of the invention of this technology, it covers how inventors patented their devices and the strategy that went along with it. Thomas Edison, the man who claimed to have invented motion pictures, does not come across as a very sympathetic, or even likable, character in this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    A very interesting tale of what has to be a cosmic coincidence? No, it is much more likely that mankind had merely arrived at a point in history made ready for motion pictures by the collective, if uninformed, arrival at a point in technological discovery that made for a pretty good story. Enjoy it for what it seems to be.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shannon McLean

    Fascinating history of the invention of motion pictures, as well as a convincing resolution to the Louis Le Prince disappearance. P.S. Also, Thomas Edison is still a giant asshole, only good at one thing--stealing other people's ideas. Fascinating history of the invention of motion pictures, as well as a convincing resolution to the Louis Le Prince disappearance. P.S. Also, Thomas Edison is still a giant asshole, only good at one thing--stealing other people's ideas.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Meg Ulmes

    This is a bait and switch book. If you are interested in the mystery of this man's disappearance do not waste your time. If you are interested in the history of motion pictures, then enjoy. So many more possibilities here that simply were not followed up on to any extent. Shameful. This is a bait and switch book. If you are interested in the mystery of this man's disappearance do not waste your time. If you are interested in the history of motion pictures, then enjoy. So many more possibilities here that simply were not followed up on to any extent. Shameful.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nann

    In the late 19th century many inventors sought to take the new technology of photography to the next level -- moving pictures. Louis Le Prince was among them but the path to patents and success was not smooth. His disappearance in 1888 is a mystery that has never been solved.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    Loads of good information about the development of motion pictures. A lot of anti-Edison bias (did this guy do nothing original or worthwhile?) and a bit of hype about murder. No murder was ever proved, no body discovered. But it looks good on the book jacket.

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Bleasdale

    Really good

  30. 5 out of 5

    Martin Kilkenny

    boy Edison was a real A-hole.

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