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Jaylia3

Reflections

Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

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

Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World - Richard Rhodes Beautiful, driven and smart, Austrian-born Hollywood movie star Hedy Lamarr liked to spend her spare time inventing things. Since she had listened when her first husband and his commercial cronies talked about weapons systems and the armaments business at their fancy, formal dinner parties, Hedy knew a surprising amount about the working mechanisms of the submarines Germans were using with such destructive force in the early days of WWII, so when she met iconoclastic and perennially broke composer George Antheil, they decided to invent an undetectable guidance system for torpedoes and sell it to the US Navy. In spite of the title, this book is as much about George Antheil as it is about Hedy Lamarr, and that's a good thing because he is equally fascinating. Like Hedy, Antheil had a surprising amount of scientific understanding. His knowledge about endocrinology was the reason they met--Hedy sought him out to see if he could enhance her figure's proportions--and his experience trying to coordinate numerous player pianos and airplane propellers for his "mechanistic" compositions meant he knew more than the average person about synchronizing machines.This is a little book with a lot of range--some science, some biography, some military strategy and maybe most interesting, descriptions of the intellectual and artistic climates of Vienna, Paris and Hollywood during the 1920's, 30's and 40's.