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The Great Train Robbery Hardcover – May 12 1975

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (May 12 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394494016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394494012
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #980,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A nineteenth-century version of The Sting ... Crichton fascinates us" The New York Times Book Review "A work of intelligence and craftmanship ... Written with grace and wit" Los Angeles Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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"A nineteenth-century version of The Sting...Crichton fascinates us."-- The New, York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NeuroSplicer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 4 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Following Michael Crichton's untimely death, I decided to complete my library with his works. The GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY was the only one missing and, I must say, although not the usual Science-Thriller Crichton had accustomed us to, it had the writer's signature iconoclastic approach to everything he wrote about.

Set in mid-19th century London, this novel is half historic travelogue through all strata of Victorian society and half an interesting roller-coaster ride on setting up and carrying through the infamous heist.

The period dialogue gave me trouble in more than one occasion at first but after a while you get used to it and you barely notice it. This is one of the early works of Crichton and although some of his flaws as a writer are present, so are most of his strengths: the secondary characters are barely fleshed out; on the other hand, his acute perception, solid research and multifocal vision does not pause before shattering long-held misconceptions and prejudices.

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Format: Hardcover
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/2 having 352 pages and no photos.
I would have liked to have seen photos of the principals as, in fact they WERE real people and did do these things, albeit perhaps not EXACTLY in the way the author has decided.
Normally I read ONLY nonfiction but accounts of the great train robbery of 1855 are few and far between and I thought that perhaps with his obvious writing skill and sticking as closely as possible to the known facts Mr Crichton might just 'fill out' the story and give it a little life.
This account is absolutely splendid and conflicts in no way with the facts of the case as I know it.
Sure, he has taken the liberty of putting words in their mouths but general knowledge of the principals and the egos involved make these words probably quite appropriate.
Long before their demise as a mode of public transportation in great popularity the railroads were seen as a novelty and somewhat revered for their ability to move people both quickly and cheaply across the country.
This mystery was smashed with the robbery of an astounding 12,000 amount quite large in those days but what piqued the public's interest was not just the amount, but the audacity of thieves to commit such a robbery and successfully evade capture.
Shades of Robin Hood.
For a nearly true true life adventure this book is an excellent read.
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By JLind555 on June 5 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The time is 1855 and the place is London. Edward Pierce, a master con artist, wants to hijack 12,000 pounds sterling that is being sent by rail to fund the Crimean War. It won't be easy. The money is locked in a safe, made triple-strong, with four keys, each key stored in a different location. All four keys must be found and copied without raising any suspicion. It's a task that would daunt all but the most capable. Fortunately, Pierce is more than up to the job. He's got several things going for him: a razor-sharp intelligence, nerves of steel, patience, cunning, and not least of all, his mysterious mistress, Miss Miriam. Pierce and his confederates spend a year working on their plans. But things have a habit of going awry at the damndest times. Can they pull it off? Maybe. Can they get away with it? Hmmm....
Michael Crichton has written a humdinger of a period suspense novel with telling touches that bring us right into the middle of the Victoria era. For instance, just finding a key in a Victorian living room could be a week-long search, given how cluttered the average living room was at that time. And train travel, still fairly new, was the object almost of worship. A train robbery was infinitely worse than, say, robbing a bank. Who would have the unmitigated gall to rob a train? Well, Pierce would, for one. And why would he commit such a dastardly crime? Because, as Pierce explained, as if talking to a three year old, he wanted the money.
As in his fiction books, Crichton's research into Victorian London and train travel is solid, and the book has a sense of unquestionable authenticity. One gets the feeling Crichton had a lot of fun writing it. We see a lot of Crichton himself in Pierce: his intelligence, his wit, his painstaking attention to detail. The book scores both as a good novel and well-researched social history. It's one of Crichton's best.
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By A Customer on Nov. 16 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Great Train Robbery was an excellent book. It is about an Edward Pierce, who pulls together some of England's finest pullsman, screwsman, corksmen (in other words, criminals), to try and pull of an amazing heist. This, as all jobs, can draw many accomplishments and drawbacks. The main operators in this crime are Robert Agar, a pickpocket that has been with Pierce since the start, a mysterious Ms. Miriam, an incredible actress, and Barlow, a thug who takes care of the "dirty work". These lead to an overall fascinating book.
The author, Michael Crichton (who has written other thrillers such as "Jurassic Park" and "Timeline"), must have done a lot of research to get all the background information that is packed in to strengthen the story and give it a historical quality. I love any movie/book that show how cons are done and the intelligence it takes to conceive this plan. The Great Train Robbery has plenty of this for those who like to see how the puzzle fits together.
I gave this book a four because there were some parts that were frankly a little boring for my taste. For example, there were 3 to 4 page essays on Victorian homes, and I couldn't see the real connection between this and the story. Only a couple sentences would be of real importance to the book. I know that Michael Crichton put a ton of effort into getting the information for these little interludes, but I just needed a little more action, without the breaks. Otherwise, this book is genius.
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