From the 1890’s through 1943, this true story follows genius NIKOLA TESLA, arguably the most influential inventor in history—and certainly the most unfairly ignored. His powerful work even exceeded that of the venerated Thomas Edison. The book’s portrayal of this tall, handsome figure is historically accurate and offers a “young-to-old” portrayal (beginning at age 18) of a genius’ personality that explores the mysteries of this brilliant creative force.
The story tells how Tesla, though handsome and charming, lived a self-chosen life of isolation – a “monk” to his calling of electronic invention. In America, he was supported by George Westinghouse, who funded Tesla’s successful effort to design and install the first hydraulic generators under Niagara Falls, providing electricity to the entire eastern seaboard for the first time – in an era of candles and lanterns. Eventually, Westinghouse would betray Tesla by not paying him many millions of dollars in royalties he was owed — leaving him in poverty.
Tesla was clandestinely betrayed by J. P. Morgan, who funded just enough of Tesla’s experimentation to realize that Tesla really could succeed in building the technology to provide FREE electricity to anyone, anywhere on the planet, effectively ending world poverty. Morgan was aghast that Tesla would actually release technology to the world that Morgan couldn’t charge them for.
He was befriended by Mark Twain, who loved the stimulation of Tesla’s far-ranging thought patterns and frequently visited Tesla’s lab for physical treatments with Tesla’s high-frequency generator, where the two brilliant men would talk long into the night.
He was repeatedly victimized by the Robber Barons of the day, because in his idealistic and inventive state of mind, he simply could not absorb the lesson that dishonesty in business was the absolute rule of the day during the Industrial Revolution. Throughout his life, he was known as a scrupulous man of his word, and he never set out to invent a device or a technology that was not successfully completed – until the end of his career, when word of his altruistic endeavors became widely known and his funding mysteriously dried up.
Thomas Alva Edison was Tesla’s bitter rival for many years, and ultimately lost the battle to provide America’s standard source of electrical power and technology. While Edison far surpassed Tesla in managerial skills and business sense, Tesla outshined him (and every other inventor alive) with his effortless and nonstop creative mental processes. The hatred and envy that Tesla engendered from his competitors is difficult to overstate.
Throughout his life, we watch Tesla’s secret Muse follow him, bringing him visions of miraculous inventions. She is invisible to others but exquisitely real to him. It is for her, for the life and the work that she shares with him, that this gallant, passionate man maintains a loner’s life even when he is working among many others.
The story follows him through his death as an impoverished old man, and through the documented truth of having his tiny hotel room invaded by Secret Service immediately upon his death, who then carried away all of his papers before his body was even removed.
The end suggests what has happened to the plans for the universal power system that he claimed to have perfected—and why it hasn’t surfaced. Yet.
“It is a monumental task, this getting into the mind of a man as complex and extraordinary as Tesla. Anthony Flacco is up to the task. In the Matter of Nikola Tesla: A Romance of the Mind reads at times like a psychological exploration worthy of Dostoyevsky, at other times like one of John le Carre’s espionage novels, and even sometimes like Joseph Campbell’s mythical ‘hero’s journey.’”
—NY Journal of Book Reviews
Anthony Flacco is an author of five nonfiction books and three historical novels, all released by major publishers. He holds an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. He was selected for the Walt Disney Studios Screenwriting Fellowship, and spent a year writing for the Touchstone Pictures division.
His first nonfiction book, A CHECKLIST FOR MURDER, was acquired in auction by Dell Books and turned in solid sales. Anthony adapted his book as a two-hour television movie script and sold it to NBC Studios for a movie of the week.
He completed his nonfiction book TINY DANCER for St. Martin’s Press, and the advance copy was selected by Reader’s Digest as their Editor’s Choice for August, 2005 — their 1,000th Commemorative Issue. The Kansas City Star named Tiny Dancer “one of the 100 Most Noteworthy Books of 2005.” The book is an international bestseller in Italy (Piemme) with sales to date of over 300,000 in that country alone.
His debut novel, THE LAST NIGHTINGALE (Ballantine) was released to acclaimed reviews including a NYT rave, and was nominated by the International Thriller Writers Association as one of the top five original paperback thrillers for 2007.
THE ROAD OUT OF HELL: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders (Union Square/Sterling, Nov. 2009) is based on one of the most heinous serial killers of the 20th Century, Gordon Stewart Northcott, which is the crime inspiration for the film CHANGELING. Winner of the USA Books News 2009 Best True Crime Award
PUBLISH YOUR NONFICTION BOOK (Writer’s Digest Books) and LITERARY FAILS were co-authored with Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management.
IMPOSSIBLE ODDS: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six (Atria Books, Simon & Schuster, May 14, 2013). He is adapting the book for a feature film script.
IN THE MATTER OF NIKOLA TESLA: A Romance of the Mind is available as an E-Book from Diversion Books everywhere e-books are sold.