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While researching Alexander Graham Bell at MIT’s Dibner Institute, Seth Shulman scrutinized Bell’s journals and within them he found the smoking gun, a hint of deeply buried historical intrigue. Delving further, Shulman unearthed the surprising story behind the invention of the telephone: a tale of romance, corruption, and unchecked ambition. Bell furtively—and illegally—copied part of Elisha Gray’s invention in the race to secure what would become the most valuable U.S. patent ever issued. And afterward, as Bell’s device led to the world’s largest monopoly, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, he hid his invention’s illicit beginnings. In The Telephone Gambit, Shulman 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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