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Thunderstruck Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 480 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Larson's new suspense-spiked history links Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy, with Hawley Crippen, a mild-mannered homeopathic doctor in turn-of-the-century London. While Larson tells their stories side by side, most listeners will struggle to find a reason for connecting the two men other than that both lived around the same time and that Goldwyn's plummy voice narrates their lives. Only on the final disc does the logic behind the intertwining of the stories become apparent and the tale gain speed. At this point, the chief inspector of Scotland Yard sets out after Crippen on a transatlantic chase, spurred by the suspicion that he committed a gruesome murder. Larson's account of the iconoclastic Marconi's quest to prove his new technology is less than engaging and Crippen's life before the manhunt was tame. Without a very compelling cast to entertain during Larson's slow, careful buildup, many listeners may not make it to the breathless final third of the book when it finally come alive.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Larson's page-turner juxtaposes scientific intrigue with a notorious murder in London at the turn of the 20th century. It alternates the story of Marconi's quest for the first wireless transatlantic communication amid scientific jealousies and controversies with the tale of a mild-mannered murderer caught as a result of the invention. The eccentric figures include the secretive Marconi and one of his rivals, physicist Oliver Lodge, who believed that he was first to make the discovery, but also insisted that the electromagnetic waves he studied were evidence of the paranormal. The parallel tale recounts the story of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, accused of murdering his volatile, shrewish wife. As he and his unsuspecting lover attempted to escape in disguise to Quebec on a luxury ocean liner, a Scotland Yard detective chased them on a faster boat. Unbeknownst to the couple, the world followed the pursuit through wireless transmissions to newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic. A public that had been skeptical of this technology suddenly grasped its power. In an era when wireless has a whole new connotation, young adults interested in the history of scientific discovery will be enthralled with this fascinating account of Marconi and his colleagues' attempts to harness a new technology. And those who enjoy a good mystery will find the unraveling of Dr. Crippen's crime, complete with turn-of-the-century forensics, appealing to the CSI crowd. A thrilling read.–Pat Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2354 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (Oct. 24 2006)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JMKR4S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,051 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I just couldn’t put this book down. In this exciting tome, the author recounts two separate and completely different tales in parallel: Marconi’s development of wireless telegraphy and the Crippen murder case. Chapters alternate throughout most of the book with every other chapter continuing one of the two stories. Their point of convergence is how Marconi’s invention helped capture the murderer.

Although a history of the development of wireless telegraphy could be very technical, but this is not the case here. The author focuses mainly on Marconi’s hard work, his personality, his associates and competitors, his successes and failures and his personal life. The technical details of his experimentation are described only generally.

Dr. Crippen’s story is remarkably detailed: his family history, childhood and upbringing, personality and marital/love life. I could not help but sympathize with this man and find it hard to believe that he was capable of such a gruesome murder.

The author writes very well, in a style that is at once lively, friendly and most of all, immensely captivating. This book should appeal to anyone looking for a great read.
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Format: Hardcover
This book follows the exact same formula that Larson used in his popular novel Devil in the White City. Which is to say that it is one chapter about Marconi followed by one chapter about Crippen. While the back and forth style really worked to build up suspense in his earlier work, I found it kind of distracting in this novel. However that is not to say that this novel is dull. Far from it in fact.

Larson provides the reader with an excellently researched novel concerning the history of wireless communication. For anyone interested in the life and times of Marconi, this fact alone should be compelling enough to purchase the book. Added to this is the a side yarn about one of England's "quiet killers" and the reader is provided with a book that is hard to put down.

And just like Devil in the White City, I was disappointed that this novel had to end. The characters were so interesting, and the story so fascinating, that I could have read another 200+ pages easily.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Erik Larson never disappoints. His research is impeccable. Even if you know of the events you always learn something new. This book is no exception. A great read in all respects.
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Format: Paperback
Wonderful and accurate account of a murder case that caused a sensation at the time, but made even more famous because its resolution was possible thanks to the use of a new technology for the period: radiotelegraphy.
This is a very long book that on the one hand tells us about the figure of Guglielmo Marconi from his boyhood until his death, and on the other hand narrates the story of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen and his wife. Behind the writing of this book is a huge research work. The author, in fact, always tells the events as they happened, reporting all the sources. Actually the last twenty percent of the book contains numerous explanatory and bibliographical notes, where you can find confirmation of the facts narrated.
I have to admit that up to two thirds of the book I found the story of Marconi far more interesting, which I didn’t know at all, while the life of Crippen and the persons associated with him was pretty boring. In the last part, however, starting from the disappearance of Cora I got caught by the narrative of the events and, although I figured out how it would end (even though I hadn’t read the description of the book), I was a bit sorry for poor Crippen.
But what really makes this book wonderful is the genius of Marconi. Much of the technology that we take for granted exist thanks to his perseverance, the maniacal way with which he carried on his empirical experiments (he wasn’t a “real” scientist) and thanks to the fact that this genius was in the hands (and mind) of a person who had the opportunity to put it into practice.
If you love science and technology, this is a book you must read.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
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By Rod on Feb. 18 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to admit, I am a total fan of Erik Larson.

I enjoyed Thunderstruck; recommend it to Larson fans and other buffs of Historical True Crime.

I would say it wasn't quite as spell binding as 'Devil in the White City'; however, the story of Marconi and his wireless was much more captivating than the tale of architects at the Chicago World's Fair. Marconi's story was just as interesting as the murder; in 'Devil'...one often had to wade through a tedious chapter about the architects before being rewarded with the more macabre details of the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great historical non-fiction. Loved the education and the story. I would highly highly recommend this book for a beach read or a into the night (can't put it down) read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Erik Larson has a talent for taking true history and making it riveting. "Thunderstruck" takes two story lines that at first seem to be random and then how they twist together at the end of the book is fascinating.
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