Every American school child knows that the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, confirmed by his famous, “Mr. Watson — Come here — I want to see you.” But the truth is more complicated. The response depends on what one means by “invent” and one’s nationality. It is a story of intrigue, robbery, uneasy collaborations and legal entanglements. The story reads like a whodunnit. Follow the invention of the telephone from early experiments arising out of telegraphy to the demise of the landline telephone.

Lawrence Anderson earned a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University and spent most of his career at what was then AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he was involved in some of the first experimental applications of lasers. He headed the group that designed optical components for the first fiber optic transatlantic cable. He lectured for many years on technical subjects for the Institute for LifeLong Learning for New Mexicans.