Hedy's Folly by Richard Rhodes
The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

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Synopsis

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes delivers a remarkable story of science history: how a ravishing film star and an avant-garde composer invented spread-spectrum radio, the technology that made wireless phones, GPS systems, and many other devices possible.
 
Beginning at a Hollywood dinner table, Hedy's Folly tells a wild story of innovation that culminates in U.S. patent number 2,292,387 for a "secret communication system." Along the way Rhodes weaves together Hollywood’s golden era, the history of Vienna, 1920s Paris, weapons design, music, a tutorial on patent law and a brief treatise on transmission technology. Narrated with the rigor and charisma we've come to expect of Rhodes, it is a remarkable narrative adventure about spread-spectrum radio's genesis and unlikely amateur inventors collaborating to change the world.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Richard Rhodes

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Richard Rhodes is the author of twenty books, including novels and works of history, journalism and letters. His The Making of the Atomic Bomb won a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, a National Book Award, and a National Book Critics Circle Award. Dark Sun, about the development of the hydrogen bomb, was one of three finalists for a Pulitzer Prize in History. A Kansas native, he has frequently explored American history and biography in articles for national magazines. He lives in Half Moon Bay, California.
 
Published November 29, 2011 by Vintage. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Computers & Technology, Humor & Entertainment, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hedy's Folly

Kirkus Reviews

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Lamarr and Antheil secured a patent, but the U.S. Navy did not adopt the device, which, as Rhodes shows, would form the foundations of today’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies.

Sep 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

The New York Times

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Antheil was once described by Time magazine as “cello-sized.” But Antheil claimed that Lamarr wrote her telephone number in lipstick on his windshield that first night, which is one of the sexiest things I’ve ever heard.

Dec 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

The New York Times

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Richard Rhodes tells the story of how the movie star Hedy Lamarr teamed up with an avant-garde composer to design a sophisticated weapons system during World War II.

Dec 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

BC Books

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So when Hedy, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in1913 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary in 1913, found herself lonely, bored, and married at age 20 to Friedrich Mandl, an Austrian arms dealer to the Nazis, she took advantage of circumstances by listening in on those occasions when the movers and shakers of...

Feb 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

The Wall Street Journal

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Yet even though "Hedy's Folly" ostensibly concerns, as the subtitle has it, "the life and breakthrough inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the most beautiful woman in the world," the book is equally about the role that chance and coincidence can play in the development of technology.

Dec 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

AV Club

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The title of Hedy’s Folly: The Life And Breakthrough Inventions Of Hedy Lamarr, The Most Beautiful Woman In The World is something of a misnomer: Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Rhodes devotes as much of his novella-length history to American avant-garde composer George Antheil as to Hedy Lamarr, w...

Jan 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

Entertainment Weekly

Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, takes on a decidedly kinder example of technological innovation in Hedy's Folly.

Dec 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

Dallas News

Such stereotypes apply to even Hedy Lamarr, who invented a crucial communications technology while battling perceptions of her as a brainless Hollywood screen siren.

Dec 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

San Francisco Chronicle

Hedy Lamarr, blessed with beauty, was cursed with the inescapable label "the most beautiful woman in the world."

Dec 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Hedy Lamarr is remembered most for the asset she valued least: her beauty.

Dec 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

The Daily Beast

Liesl Schillinger is a New York–based writer and literary critic whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York magazine, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The London Independent on Sunday, and other publications here and abroad.

Nov 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

The Roanoke Times

It takes a clear state of mind, which is usually someone thinking ‘outside the box,’ to suddenly or serendipitously see the connection between the unrelated concepts and put it all together to create something new.” In Lamarr’s case, the something new was that “if a radio transmitter and receive...

Dec 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

Business Week

(Around that time, young Hedwig Kiesler was given the screen name Lamarr, not knowing it was the surname of another Mayer ingénue who had become a heroin addict and died about a decade earlier.) Mayer’s hyperbole plagued Lamarr for much of her life.

Dec 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

Science News

Antheil brushes shoulders with artistic luminaries such as Igor Stravinsky and James Joyce, while Hedy and her first husband, an oppressive munitions maker who basically imprisons her in their mansion, entertain Benito Mussolini and German weapons engineers at the dinner table.

Dec 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Br...

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