Start reading Thunderstruck on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.
Engineering & Transportation

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available
 

Thunderstruck [Kindle Edition]

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (548 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.50
You Save: $6.50 (41%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.50  
Hardcover $19.68  
Paperback $10.00  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $26.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Audio, CD, Abridged, Audiobook $10.94  
Unknown Binding --  
Kindle Daily Deals
Kindle Delivers: Daily Deals
Subscribe to find out about each day's Kindle Daily Deals for adults and young readers. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

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.



Editorial Reviews

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

  • File Size: 808 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (October 24, 2006)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JMKR4S
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,746 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
451 of 467 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and spellbinding October 24, 2006
Format:Hardcover
I so enjoyed The Devil in the White City, a book I read without any awareness of its historical importance. I've waited with aniticpation Larson's next book, but this time I came to it with some expectation. Thunderstruck doesn't disappoint.

If you're looking for a quick and unsubstantial book, Thunderstruct isn't for you. I can even anticipate that some reviewers will nail Larson for the incredible amount of detail he provides, especially in those chapters dealing with Marconi. However, this is Larson's manner and in the end you're glad he provided the indepth treatment.

Thunderstruck, like The Devil in the While City, tells two stories that are inevitably intertwined. First, is Guglielmo Marconi's search for "wireless" telecommunication. Marconi wasn't a scientist. He simply had an idea. With his rudimentary understanding of electromagnetism he believed it possible to communicate over long distances without wires. He was a plodder in the best traditions of Edison. He was, of course successful.

The second story deals with Dr. H. H. Crippen and the murder of his wife, Belle. Demanding, apparently unfaithful (though the Dr. appears to have gotten around a bit), and used to spending large sums of money they couldn't afford, Belle was a weight around Crippens neck. Along with his innocent lover and secretary, Ethel, he flees but is ultimately thwarted by Marconi's invention and a crackerjack Scotland Yard detective. The trans-Atlantic chase, reported via "wireless" communication kept the world's attention. Indeed, the only two people who didn't know they were being chased were the lovers.

Written in Larson's uncompromising style using original sources, Thunderstruck is a wonderful vision into the early years of the twentieth century when technology promised a new world. The story is engaging, well written, organized. Larson is a master storyteller.

Read the book. You'll love it.
Was this review helpful to you?
157 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history even better than mystery October 24, 2006
Format:Hardcover
This is two stories in one. The story of how Marconi struggled to popularize and refine radio technology by trial and error is fascinating, and the story of how mild mannered Harley Crippen became a famous criminal is nearly as interesting, and then the stories merge in a weird but memorable way. And every bit of it is true.

I have to say that Larson puts it all together beautifully. He feeds you the perfect detail at the right time. It's not so much a true crime tale as it is a tale of human nature. It has a certain inevitability without ever boring you. I bet this one will spend a long time on the bestseller list, just like Devil in the White City (his previous book) did.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Devilishly Good Read! October 29, 2006
Format:Hardcover
I am a big fan of the historical thriller, and have tendency to take my time enjoyably absorbing true information and fact presented in good fiction writing. I am of the opinion that the task of a fiction writer to educate and entertain is more difficult than a non-fiction writer. This said, `Thunderstruck' by Erik Larson was a complete read that left me fully satiated on all levels: Larson's writing style was easy and absorbing; the character development, particularly of Guglielmo Marconi (inventor or wireless telecommunication technology) and Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen (The "North London Cellar Murderer") entertaining, consistent, and engaging; the use of historical data and fact to drive the story and remarkably make a story that occurred nearly a century ago relevant and current to today's world, superbly and interestingly executed; and finally, a plot of two that meet head on and merge into one fascinating spin: Marconi's `throw it at the wall' attempt and success to create a wireless communication system, and a murderer attempting to flee England to Canada after killing his treacherous wife who unknowingly has the entire world following his escapades of escape due to Marconi's newly created technology!

Very rare is it that two working plots in past historical fiction can run concurrently with a sense of edge of interests that they do not take away from each other or the story as a whole. Historical dual-plot prose' have been the death of many books. Erik Larson's 'Thunderstruck' is one of those rare exemplary stories executed with a forceful yet delicate balance of writing style that demonstrates why, if done right, dual-thematic historical fiction writing can produce stellar fiction.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
179 of 203 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 50% fabulous, 50% boring February 10, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed half of "Thunderstruck," but the other half of the book was a real dud.

Erik Larson is one of several popular authors whose books always follow the same basic formula. In Larson's case, his books are divided into two separate plots that focus on different characters whose lives ultimately collide in an unexpected way. Also, half of Larson's book generally involve a very detailed process of some sort, while the other half revolves around a crime. When I read "The Devil in the White City," I enjoyed reading all the meticulous details about the planning and architecture of Chicago's World's Fair. However, I don't have a strong interest in science, so the entire portion of "Thunderstruck" devoted to Marconi's development of wireless communication was incredibly dull to me. I'm sure science buffs will find it much more enjoyable, but I thought that pages and pages devoted to things like the types of metals Marconi used to build antennas were incredibly dry and tedious.

However, I really enjoyed the portion of "Thunderstruck" that revolved around the Crippen murder. Those chapters were much more intriguing than the Marconi parts, and I thought Larson did an excellent job of setting up the story. Also, I enjoyed the final chapters of the book where the Marconi/Crippen stories finally overlap. This book is based on actual events that I didn't know much about, and I'm eager to learn more about the Crippen case. (I won't be doing more research on Marconi, though...I'll leave that to the science students out there.)

Overall, Larson is a pretty good storyteller. However, I personally only enjoyed about 50% of this book. I doubt most people will really get into the Marconi chapters unless they have a strong interest in the history and development of scientific processes.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Erik Larson - Descriptive Writer
My daughter needed a good book for her language arts class. She's a junior in high school. This book kept her occupied during times when she was finished with her work before... Read more
Published 12 hours ago by Smart Cookie52
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Larson is one of the best in the USA
This is simply another great story b y Mr. Larson. His talent with writing and research can only be matched by Laura Hillebrand. Read more
Published 1 day ago by donzic
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is not a waste of money.
Great history. It dragged a little but engaged me.
Published 1 day ago by Adam Wiktorek
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool electronics
Since a child I have always loved electronics so this book caught my eye. The addition of the killer was confusing to me as to why it was added,but you find out why in the end. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Daniel C. Edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Devil in the White City
I'll normally read anything Erik Larson writes. This was about the radio. Interesting, but not as compelling as his other books. Not as good as Devil in the White City. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Susan G. Snow
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well written historical novel that weaves three distant string together in the end. I couldn't stop reading it!
Published 2 days ago by CJ
3.0 out of 5 stars Too repetitive on the attempts to get the transatlantic communications...
Not enough about Crippen and Neve. Too much about Marconi. Book did not capture my interest until Crippen and Neve got serious. Author's other books were great. Read more
Published 2 days ago by A.M.R.
4.0 out of 5 stars How could I have not known about this?
Erik Larson is so wonderfully readable. Certainly the history of wireless telegraphy is something I have never cared to learn, nor, shamefully, would I have ever read a book on... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Hannah hessler
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read.
It must be a difficult task to write a book with two almost totally unrelated stories running side by side, but Erik Larson does this magnificently, finally bringing them together... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Ian
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Read About Real Events
In this earlier work can be seen the developing style and substance that matured so successfully in the author's bestselling "Devil in the White City. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Stanley T. Myles
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Erik Larson is a writer, journalist and novelist. Nominated for a Pulitzer prize for investigative journalism on The Wall Street Journal, he has taught non-fiction writing at San Francisco State and Johns Hopkins.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

Topic From this Discussion
Larson is a Magnificent Story Teller
I agree that Larson is a great story teller. I have read all of his books. Do you know if he is working on a new one?
Nov 6, 2008 by Nicholas Donofrio |  See all 2 posts
Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for Similar Items by Category