Thunderstruck - Erik Larson

Title: Thunderstruck
Author: Erik Larson
File Size (Pages): 1051 KB (429)
Published: 2006
Challenges: E-Book
Genre: Non-Fiction, True Crime, History
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson 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 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.

With his superb narrative skills, Erik Larson guides these parallel narratives toward a relentlessly suspenseful meeting on the waters of the North Atlantic. Along the way, he tells of a sad and tragic love affair that was described on the front pages of newspapers around the world, a chief inspector who found himself strangely sympathetic to the killer and his lover, and a driven and compelling inventor who transformed the way we communicate. Thunderstruck presents a vibrant portrait of an era of séances, science, and fog, inhabited by inventors, magicians, and Scotland Yard detectives, all presided over by the amiable and fun-loving Edward VII as the world slid inevitably toward the first great war of the twentieth century. Gripping from the first page, and rich with fascinating detail about the time, the people, and the new inventions that connect and divide us, Thunderstruck is splendid narrative history from a master of the form. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I quite enjoyed this book, but it took me a few chapters to actually to get into the book.  I think what I enjoyed about the book is how the author used two very different events to connect them.  I really didn't know what to expect coming out of this book, as the introductory chapter seemed to give the impression that this would be a book that wouldn't interest me at all, especially since my experience with the author's previous book, The Devil in the White City, didn't exactly leave me with a great taste in my mouth about this sort of style.  I think what I found interesting about the book was how Mr. Larsen intersected the two stories and found the Marconi story to be less interesting as the book wore on and probably a bit of a bore.

Bottom line: While I did enjoy the book, I did take me sometime to read it and felt that some of the parts were rather lacking and I had to force myself to read through those sections.  While it only took me a few days to read it, it did feel like a chore at times. I would recommend this book to those that enjoyed Larson's other books or books of a similar nature.  Recommended

Rating: 3.4/5

Pages for 2013: 19, 030


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