Europeans did not always like the American attitude. Albert Einstein, essentially a nineteenth-century European scientist and pure theoretician who found himself in twentieth-century America, wrote of this pragmatic side of American thinking, "There is visible in this process of relatively fruitless but heroic endeavors a systematic trend of development, namely, an increasing skepticism concerning every attempt by means of pure thought to learn something about the 'objective world,' about the world of 'things' in contrast to the world of mere 'concepts and ideas.'?"
Birdseye grew up in a world in which mere concepts and ideas were not enough. An American inventor solved a problem, formed a company, and, he hoped, earned a fortune. Alexander Graham Bell, a Scot turned Canadian who then came to America, was most known at the time of Birdseye's birth as not only the inventor of the telephone but the founder of the first telephone company, Bell Telephone, in 1877. By the time Birdseye was born, the Bell Telephone Company had placed phones in 150,000 homes and offices.
Excerpted from Birdseye by Mark Kurlansky. Copyright © 2012 by Mark Kurlansky. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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