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Synopsis

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City, a true story of love, murder, and the end of the world’s “great hush”

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 murder.

With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through a relentlessly suspenseful chase over 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.

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Overall rating

4.2 out of 5
(34)
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    historically interesting.

    I enjoyed his devil in white city more, but this was still worth reading.

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    Thunderstruck

    Fabulous. First class history.

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    Interesting if a little slim

    This was an interesting story though not as good as his "Devil in the White City". I expected a bit more dramatic intersection between Crippen and Marconi. The Crippen story was compelling but the Marconi half got a bit boring with mechanics and infighting between scientists.

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    Great story

    Excellent history as always from Larsen. He has a great talent for telling a story that can be quite dry if told incorrectly. Larsen makes one enjoy doing further research in to the story as he omits certain details like conspiracy stories about Crippen's innocence. If the reader needs to prove Crippen's innocence or guilt to themselves they have to do that on their own. Larsen lays out the facts without the unnecessary burden of opinions.

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    Thunderstruck

    I was very impressed with the details of the technical advances. After a while the fidelity in describing the technology and its evolution, made the overall story a bit tedious. I did enjoy it overall, but was very glad when it ended, though I felt I gained considerable insight into both the technology and the man.

(34)

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