Book - 2006 | 1st ed.
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Tells the interwoven stories of two men--Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication--whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time. Set in Edwardian London, an era of séances, science, and fog, and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners, scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed, and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, "the kindest of men," nearly commits the perfect crime.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781400080663
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 LARSON
Characteristics: ix, 463 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.


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Mar 15, 2018

Erik Larson's uncanny way of intersecting historical personalities and events always captivates me. Unlike "Devil in the White City" and "Dead Wake", which I previously read, Larson choses
to focus mainly two events: Marconi and establishment of wireless telegraphy and the pursuit
and solving of the Crippen murder--too seeming incongruous simultaneous events. The back
and forth narrative adds to the tension and frenetic pace to the culmination of each story. It reads like a good thriller.

Mar 03, 2018

After reading and really enjoying one of his other books "Dead Wake", I was looking forward to reading this one. After inching along and having to renew it once, though, I still hadn't read much of it. Too much jumping back and forth trying to follow what was happening in the story. I just took it back and decided to give it a try at a later date.

Jun 23, 2015

Lots of great period detail. The way he meshes the two story lines is so interesting.

Jane60201 Oct 21, 2013

An excellent book. The switches in themes were a little distracting but both themes were well researched and written.

gwsuperfan May 02, 2012

Thunderstruck was great, although I'm sure some folks will be irritated by the focus on the development of wireless telegraphy distracting from the core story of the allegedly murderous doctor. This seems to be a pattern in Larson's books: the bulk of the book seems to focus more on tangentially related things. Still, I found all aspects of the book fascinating.

Mar 14, 2012

Excellent read. Historical drama and tying the two separate stories together in the end was extremely effective. Well written and a good page turner.

Jan 30, 2012

Interesting book, but flipping from one person to the other throughout, made it a little difficult to really find interest in either individual. His other books are better, in my opinion. That being said, this still was well-written and researched.

markengpns Jan 12, 2012

This book was not nearly as interesting as Devil in the White City. I am an electrical engineer and even I found this one easy to put down. The story just isn't that interesting, and the writing doesn't keep the reader's attention.

Sep 15, 2007

For someone who finds it hard to read non-fiction, this was a page turner. Written in the style of The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester where we have two stories being told "at once," knowing that sooner or later they will interconnect. Erik Larson decides to interweave the story of the Crippen murder and Marconi's story of commercializing wireless telegraphy. Although this truly was a fascinating read, I found the "back-and-forthing" less effective here as an architecture. The reader has to go back and forth too often - one chapter at a time and the thread is often lost (maybe my fault?). The author all-too-often would use the stylistic technique of hinting at things to come, as in "and this would prove to be significant," or "little did he know that ...." but I found that the "tie-up" didn't happen quickly enough for me to remember these little hints or cues. Nevertheless, a great read, full of interesting facts that don't bog down the narrative at all. The book left me wanting more information and isn't that a good thing? I think so.


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