Picks and Pans Review: Genius at Work

updated 03/15/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/15/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Dorothy Harley Eber

Like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell was a confident genius with a strong sense of his role in American history. His assistants were photographers, and they recorded the boss at work and play, using primitive, 19th-century equipment. In 1885, after the invention of the telephone had made him wealthy, Bell, then 38, and his deaf wife fell in love with Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. They bought land, built a home and lab, and spent 37 summers there while Bell invented fantastic tetrahedral kites and hydrofoil boats with airplane motors. This book's text (excerpts from family letters and the recollections of neighbors) and many photographs reveal the island as a dreamland for the children and grandchildren who shared Bell's busy, innovative days. (Viking. $16.95)

From Our Partners