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This is a book about the invention of wireless telegraphy As if he knew this wasn’t the sexiest of topics, author Erik Larson includes a murder mystery alongside it, creating a fun little twoforthepriceofone nonfiction treat He lures you in with relationship drama and then works in the science So sneaky! And once the two distinct stories come together, so delicious.I can see how some readers would be less than enthused about thetechnical details of Marconi’s science experiments, but I live with an engineer, so I have developed a pretty high tolerance for tech speak I actually find it relaxing to let unfamiliar phrases and concepts drift pastit’s not like I’m expected to chime in with meaningful feedback or opinions I just nod encouragingly from time to time and let it all wash over me So yeah, the experience of listening to this audio book was, for me, both familiar and comfortable.And the story of the demure, unassuming patent medicine salesman Crippen and his voluptuous, volatile wife is a fascinating one,than enough to keep the engine humming I didn’t entirely buy into Larson’s incredulity that a man perceived as so gentle could be capable of murder I must be a cynicof course the quiet, retiring guy was eventually going to snap! Still, the chase towards the end of the book is surprisingly suspenseful, considering by today’s standards it unfolded at a snail’s pace Larson is a great storyteller and is particularly good at sniffing out historical events that would make for accessible, addictive reading This is the third book of his I’ve read, and I’ve enjoyed them all I especially recommend The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed Americaso good!More book recommendations by me at www.readingwithhippos.com The Author's Note says that the murder case in this book so captivated Alfred Hitchcock that he worked elements of it into Rear Window (and The Rope) Rear Window is probably my favorite movie of all time, so I had to find out which elements he was referring to This is why I wanted to read this book and have had a copy for a couple of years now.Larson incorporates via alternating chapters the story of Marconi's creation of the telegraph, and therein lies my excuse for NOT wanting to read this book despite buying it on sale I know how this author so thoroughly researches everything to the point where you almost want to say TMI, Erik Or zzzzzz In the same Author's Note mentioned above, he also says, I ask readers to forgive my passion for digression If, for example, you learnthan you need to know about a certain piece of flesh, I apologize in advance, though I confess I make that apology only halfheartedly (This made me smile; is that 1/2 apology, 1/2 F you?)Honestly, I didn't mind the flesh pieces at all But if I got bored of longwinded descriptions of wireless transmissions affected by sunlight or by fog or the lack thereof, I simply swallowed hard and remembered the author's words He really cannot help himself l as a reader of his books know by now that you take the good with the bad and you inevitably come out of the experience so muchthe wiser andknowledgeable And I'm sure there are readers who prefer the Marconi chapters over the murder investigation, so something for everyone. @Download Book å Thunderstruck è The interwoven stories of two men whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all timeHawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communicationA 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 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 funloving 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 In classic Erik Larson style, Thunderstruck is told through parallel lives and events In this case,so than in The Devil in the White City, it's not immediately evident how the elements will come to intertwine.Guglielmo Marconi (below) was smart, contributed to society in the end, blah, blah, blah, but he was also kind of a jerk (that's my opinion, not expressly stated in the book) Larson chalks it up to a lack of social skills, which may be true, but it doesn't mean I have to forgive him for it It would still be a fewdecades before Robert Merton would outline his norms of modern science, but in the face of a spiritualism frenzy, real scientists were trying to distinguish the components of, well, good science Marconi (an entrepreneur,so than he was a scientist, which he, ironically, noted in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Physics) was not on board with key components of this like communality and letting skeptics in on the experiments.On the other side of town (or the ocean, depending on the day), our second story line involves a homeopath, an aspiring actress/singer (lacking in the skill department think American Idol outtakes), and, of course, a mistress If Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen were a woman and/or late 19thcentury jurists had access to the Law Order franchise, we might think his was a case of battered wife syndrome (in these PC days, battered person syndrome) I feel like just looking at the pictures of Crippen (above) and his wife,Corrine Cora Turner/Belle El (below) you might get a sense of what a truly terrible match theirs was The details of how this all plays out are intriguing, and involve plenty of deceit, betrayal and a dash of 19th century detectivery and forensic science.Skipping ahead, the story lines converge when Dr Crippen and his mistress, Ethel Le Neve (below), take to the seas in this instance, dressed as father and son (Le Neve really should have seen bad things coming at this point, being asked by your lover to dress as a little boy should always be a dealbreaker!) Without giving away too much, the SS Montrose essentially becomes the white Bronco of this whole affair, and (here comes the Marconi tie in), thanks to the advances in science, this was basically the first instance of live tweeting the hunt for a murderer on the run The public appetite for this type of thing, it would seem, has always been high so this was pretty much the best publicity Marconi could have ever hoped for I would give thisstars if it weren't Larson, who I know can (and does) do better It's worth reading, I just wouldn't put it up there with hisrecent books Bonus Archer reference: Thanks Guglielmo Marconiwho I think invented the radio. There's a certain style of storytelling which I have an affinity for, both in terms of telling stories myself and listening to them (or reading them) The style, in a word, would be called digressive I know this style doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me I like talking about or hearing about the little things that don't necessarily advance the plot or aren't crucial to understanding the point of something As long as the digressions are interesting in and of themselves, I think they have a corresponding value Thunderstruck really brought this point home for me I enjoyed the book a lot, but I was well aware that it was full of digressions (This fact was hard to miss Larson acknowledges it and halfapologizes for it in the introduction to the book.) But, the digressions were interesting In keeping with my suddenly burgeoning interest in historical nonfiction, I picked this book up because I thought a story about the invention and spread of wireless telegraphy would be interesting Especially when that tale intersects, coincidentally, with a bizarre murder case And my thought proved correct it is a fascinating story But it's a thin one, too, so Larson fleshes things out with numerous asides, digressions, tangents and trivia And I eat that up with a spoon (it doesn't hurt that Larson is a fine writer, too) I just have to admit that while I thought it was the best way to tell the intertwined stories of a murderer's escape and the dawning of a new industry, other people might not have the same patience for it You've been warned. Thunderstruck, by Erik Larson is a non fiction account of the infamous murder of Belle El by her husband, Hawley Crippen, and the story of Guglielmo Marconi,the inventor of wireless telegraphy The story of both men was riveting Marconi was obsessive about his work, probably had Aspergers syndrome He battles it out with competitors over patents and rights It was like a soap opera sometimes, all the accusations, and back biting The details behind the invention was also very interesting This man dedicated his life to his work, but it was a crime and the role his invention played in the apprehension of Hawley that really put his invention on the map.Crippen, was an unassuming man He married a rather flamboyant woman, that eventually drove him to commit an unspeakable crime Crippen leads Scotland Yard on a history making chase through the ocean Crippen was described as being kind hearted The last person one would expect to commit murder But, man, this guy was one cool customer all the way to the bitter end.I am not a big fan of nonfiction history, because while it can be interesting, it is usually very dry I am a huge fan of historical fiction, however But, my son gave me this book for my birthday a few years ago, and it finally made it to the top of my TBR list I had read The Devil and the White City several years back , after reading the stellar reviews, so I was really looking forward to this one Larson's style is to write a few chapters about the invention and those involved with that, then he switched to the Crippen and what was happening with him The suspense builds up as we see the struggles of each man and those involved with them, and as we see the two stories come together Larson's books read like a novel making history seem very interesting and anything but dry. This one turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for me I loved The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America and was expecting something similar here Unfortunately, I was so weighed down in details of Marconi and his electrical engineering project, I could barely keep my head above water There was simply too much detail when describing Marconi's work towards engineering wireless Although an electrical engineer or any person interested in early communication methods might find this one engaging, it was too much for me.I will not let this book deter me from reading other Erik Larson books I have heard good thing about 4 Stars for Thunderstruck (audiobook) by Erik Larson read by Bob Balaban This is an interesting story Two very different words colliding together A gruesome murder and wireless communications being invented The story does get bogged down a bit by the amazing amount of detail The story of Marconi inventing wireless communications would have been enough But to see how the new technology was immediately used was fascinating This is definitely an invention that changed the world This was a great audiobook I never felt lost in all the details The narrator did a good job. “At that moment the world changed…”Erik Larson has a winning formula that he deploys well in his books He takes on a historical event(s), links them with other things happening in the same period, sometimes thru a specific study of a person, and while combining those elements he explores the age in which the events he focuses on happened It works “Thunderstruck” is no exception, although I think it works slightly less successfully than in his other books.The events that Larson connects in “Thunderstruck” are Marconi’s invention and development of the wireless telegraph, and a murder that enthralled London (and through the tool of Marconi’s wireless, the world) in the early 20th century Although the connection is a bit tenuous at times, this text gives a nice insight into both events and into the Edwardian period/culture in general.The last 100 pages or so are gripping reading Larson has not disappointed me yet, and “Thunderstruck” is a unique take on some interesting events that shaped the 20th century. I enjoyed parts of Thunderstruck and really had to force myself through others The chapters about Marconi were often boring and too technical for my nonscientific mind Larson sort of expects his reader to already understand certain elements of how radio waves works, which I don't However, when Larson wasn't droning on about building towers and antennae, Marconi's story still captured my attention (I'm surescientific minded people would enjoy the aspects that I didn't.) In the end, I ended up quite disliking Marconi I find it interesting when we have images of historical figures in our heads, and then we find that the image and the reality don't match up I have a tendency to forget the humanity of such people Marconi, as is sometimes the case, has the brilliant mind, but lacks the social astuteness necessary for having a happy and truly successful life, no matter what invention/discovery he has made for society: He took credit for many things which others had truly done and delved himself completely in his work without regard for his family or others around him.As far as Crippen, El, and Le Neve are concerned, the half of the book dedicated to their story fascinated me Larson weaves in little tidbits of life at the turn of the century, creating a close to complete vision of the time When I got to the parts about the discovery of the murder, I did skim some pages, I will admit I couldn't fathom, as those who knew him, how Crippen could have committed such a crime because he was so mild and kind The last 80 or so pages were absolutely the bestthe chase I have to say that my very favorite person in the novel was Captain Kendall Unfortunately, he is not in the story as much as I would like, but he is the smartest and most daring person we meet I loved (loved isn't a strong enough word; I finished the book one night and woke up talking about this part the next morning) that the whole world knew what was happening except for the unsuspecting Crippen and Le Neve Mostly because the story is true, this is the most magnificent irony any story could produce I laugh a little at the perfectness of it all.