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Thunderstruck Audiobook

Thunderstruck

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Publisher's Summary

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. Their 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 fun-loving Edward VII as the world slid inevitably toward the first great war of the 20th century.

Gripping from the start, 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.

©2006 Erik Larson; (P)2006 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Larson has a knack for creating genuine suspense in his writing, and his latest is thoroughly enthralling." (Booklist)
"Splendid, beautifully written....Thunderstruck triumphantly resurrects the spirit of another age." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1197 )
5 star
 (360)
4 star
 (488)
3 star
 (268)
2 star
 (57)
1 star
 (24)
Overall
4.0 (786 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (15)
Story
4.1 (783 )
5 star
 (337)
4 star
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3 star
 (113)
2 star
 (27)
1 star
 (24)
Performance
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  •  
    Brian ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 06-01-11
    Brian ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 06-01-11 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    61
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    325
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    3
    Overall
    "Lots of Historical Detail"

    I like history, so this was a good book. It's a bit choppy going in between Marconi and the radio, and the actual murder though. The unabridged may be a bit better for those that want to get to the point. There have been some recent developments in this case since the book that you may want to look at after you listen to this book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire 08-08-07
    Claire 08-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    62
    7
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "All facts, no story"

    This would have been better if it had been written as a science history book which is how it read. The murder mystery part of it was lost in the science history of telegraph communications.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 02-13-07
    Mark 02-13-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    206
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Too long, rather pointless"

    This is not a novel so much as it is a history lesson. I got all the way through it and I do not regret the purchase, but be warned, its less story and more fact in chronological order.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Shelbyville, KY, USA 12-06-06
    Robert Shelbyville, KY, USA 12-06-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    6
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "hard to listen to"

    I enjoyed the story, but I was having a hard time listening to more than a half hour at a time. It took me half the book to realize the reading was very disjointed. The narrator seemed to add a comma to almost every sentence, breaking them up into short, choppy sections, and this made it very hard to listen to.

    The story by Larsen was what I have come to expect from him after reading one and listening to another of his books.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    miyaker 09-19-08
    miyaker 09-19-08 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    75
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    415
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Excellent Book, Narration is fine"

    While perhaps not up to the level of Devil in the White City, I found Thunderstruck completely captivating. Just as in his previous book, both plots are very engaging. As the author admits in the prologue, sometimes the detail is just a bit over the top, but the vast majority of the time the extra bits of trivia are quite interesting.

    While the narrator starts out speaking quickly at the very beginning (and only the beginning), I had no other issues with the narration. It was clear and never detracted from the story.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 12-04-16 Member Since 2014

    Resides in Elkton, M.D. (but my heart belongs in Upstate, N.Y.)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    75
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    128
    124
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    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thunderstruck"
    What made the experience of listening to Thunderstruck the most enjoyable?

    Feeling the tension of Marconi, and the ignorance of Belle, and the love between the two.(No spoilers)


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Thunderstruck?

    When they talk about the retrieval of Belle


    Which character – as performed by Bob Balaban – was your favorite?

    Dr. Crippen


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I couldn't it was to long. I read it in a day.


    Any additional comments?

    Erik Larson is such a fine writer. I would love to sit down and talk with him sometime. Please write about WW 2- Pearl Harbor, Edward 6, Titanic etc

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sandyinolympia 09-21-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could not get into this book"

    The story was a slough. Felt like I was trudging in quicksand. Could not get past chapter 4.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianne New Bern, NC, United States 09-16-16
    Dianne New Bern, NC, United States 09-16-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
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    27
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hard to follow"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    To start out with main story without all the history leading up to it.


    Has Thunderstruck turned you off from other books in this genre?

    To detailed in science


    What didn’t you like about Bob Balaban’s performance?

    He didn't have much to work with.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Thunderstruck?

    The entire beginning. He looses the ready very quickly.


    Any additional comments?

    I think this is on the second book I wished I hadn't purchased in all the years with Audio Books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Yates 09-08-16
    S. Yates 09-08-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    80
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    228
    120
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    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Another solid history"
    Any additional comments?

    Another solid outing by Larson. This time, he examines Marconi and the invention/development/deployment of wireless telegraphy, and how that cutting edge technology led to the apprehension of Dr. Crippen (famous for murdering his wife). Larson, as always, has done his historical homework, and he builds the suspense by tracking both Marconi and Crippen from early adulthood to their convergence (or at least the convergence of Marconi's device and Crippen's fate) by laying out what was happening in their lives and the world. You come away feeling pity for Crippen and his poor choice of life partner, and with admiration tinged with some annoyance for Marconi, who had character flaws aplenty. An interesting look at how technology shrunk the world and a reminder that the public's breathless voyeurism is not a 21st century invention.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    xina 09-07-16
    xina 09-07-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cool book, wooden narrator"

    Interesting topic, but the narrator did nothing to bring it to life. At points it sounded like he was just reading words out loud with zero awareness of what he was saying; he occasionally sounded surprised that they're were no more words (ie he had reached the end of a chapter). Also, the production quality was inconsistent between chapters. I wish that I had just read this one myself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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