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Thomas A. Edison remains rooted in the popular imagination primarily as the inventor of the practical electric light, but he also continues to function in the lexicons of advertising and politics as a symbol of American individualism, ingenuity, and know-how. Introduced here with a broad range of primary sources for discussion, the American inventor emerges as a prolific mind, a tireless worker, and an inveterate self-promoter. Examples of Edisons own experimental notes, his personal correspondence, as well as press accounts provide an opportunity to explore the themes of modernization and the American ideology of progress. The volume includes an extended introduction, headnotes to the documents, illustrations, a chronology, discussion questions, a bibliography, and an index.