Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Technologists” as Want to Read:
The Technologists
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Technologists

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  2,922 Ratings  ·  600 Reviews
The first class at M.I.T. The last hope for a city in peril.
The acclaimed author of The Dante Club reinvigorates the historical thriller. Matthew Pearl’s spellbinding new novel transports readers to tumultuous nineteenth-century Boston, where the word “technology” represents a bold and frightening new concept. The fight for the future will hinge on . . .
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Random House (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Technologists, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Technologists

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Richard Derus
Mar 20, 2012 Richard Derus rated it did not like it
Shelves: pearl-ruled
Rating: one ill-tempered star (p54)

I gave up on this boring, clanking, juddering steampunk-lite edifice of rusty cogs and leaking pipes when I read one character from MIT's first graduating class saying to another that their technological age had an engine but no engineer. (A quote from Emerson.)


I started the book with serious interest, based on some good reviews of people whose taste I trust, and on my great desire to see technology applied to problem-solving in extreme situations (the reas
Clare Cannon
Mar 11, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults & Young Adults
Shelves: young-adult, adults

Quite a surprise on two accounts: first because it is a little slower to start than expected, but second because the characters, action, intrigue and all-round quality of the story increases exponentially from there to the end. I admit I am impatient with scene-setting and sorting out who's who, but perhaps a little more preparation in the reader would allow them to enjoy it sooner.

Boston in the 1860s, at the tail end of the Industrial Revolution, is still generally uneasy about scientific deve
Mary Shyne
Mar 13, 2012 Mary Shyne rated it really liked it
This book suffers from a marketing problem. The blurbs call it a thriller, but it's written like a straight historical fiction. Pearl does his damndest to end every chapter -- and sometimes every section! -- dangling off a ledge, but somehow the adrenaline just doesn't kick in. The lush writing style defuses the urgency and the pacing's slow (it's 500+ pages but it seems like 200 pages could've been removed; editors? editors?). All the technobabble, while thorough, makes the mind glaze over. Als ...more
Jason Golomb
Oct 19, 2011 Jason Golomb rated it really liked it
Matthew Pearl’s “The Technologists” is a historical mystery set in post-Civil War Boston. Pearl does a magnificent job of recreating a 19th century Boston that I can only compare to the New York City of Caleb Carr’s “The Alienist”. The book is sort of a CSI-Boston (1800’s)…a cast of strong characters sleuth a series of attacks on the city and use science to uncover a growing plot.

Pearl centers his mystery on a few members of the first-ever graduating class of the Massachusetts Institute of Techn
The only way for me to really talk about The Technologists is to pull it apart into its different layers. At its most basic, Pearl's The Technologists is a mystery, a thriller. It is also a novel with a profound sense of place - not only of the where but also when. Pearl takes his setting very seriously, and in it is entirely convincing - in fact, it is primarily in the steampunkish technology that we wander outside of historical fiction into alternative history. Finally, The Technologists reads ...more
Oct 18, 2012 Jill rated it it was ok
On a foggy night in 1868, all the ships in the Boston Harbor find that their compasses and other instruments inexplicably spin out of control, and because of the poor visibility, several ships collide. Shortly thereafter, the glass in the windows of the businesses in the central city begins to melt! The glass windows become liquid, but then as they drain out of their frames they reconstitute into glass and shatter as they hit the ground, causing some death and a fair amount of destruction. In an ...more
In Aprial 1868, a number of ships in Boston Harbor lost their instruments together. This caused seven ships to crash and great damage. Officials consider turning to the Harbor Police but one person considers the professors at Massachetts Instrument of Technology which is about to graduate their first class.

Marcus Mansfield is one of the students and the lone student on financial assistance. He listens to the school president telling about a new technology that would combine the city lights in a
May 27, 2013 William rated it it was ok
I picked this book up at the local public library when I ran out of things to read, and to some extent regret having done so. I also keep wondering why I feel compelled to finish books I don't really like.

This was a tedious read, all 480 pages of it. It seems more like an author showing off than telling a story. It's well past the middle of the book before the plot gathers any momentum, and after this incredibly slow pace, the last fifty pages or contain an astonishing number of plot twists. Pac
Mar 03, 2012 Barbara rated it did not like it
Oh, I wanted to like this book. A mystery set in Boston in 1868, centered around the first graduating class of MIT. I think that particular historical period is rich ground for mysteries, because the developing technology makes for new types of detecting, and societal roles are so in flux. And this book has William Barton Rogers and Ellen Swallows as characters, names writ large in the establishment of my alma mater.
But it's just so bad. The characters are sketchily developed and sometimes just
Feb 15, 2012 Judith rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook-net-galley

One fine day, when the compasses on all the ships in Boston Harbor went haywire......and a while later, all the glass (on Bank Street) became obvious that “something was up”, and not just the sky

it’s 1868...shortly after the Civil War

The first class of THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY is about to graduate....and all Hell breaks loose!!Fear and Ignorance among the general populace......The Hardy Boys meet Harry Potter (meet The Technologists)....Harum scarum pyrotechnics...
Althea Ann
Nov 03, 2011 Althea Ann rated it liked it
I've been intrigued by Matthew Pearl for a while - I actually own both 'The Dante Club' and 'The Poe Shadow' and have been planning on reading them - but I got an ARC of his latest, so it went to the top of the list. Well, eh, I might have been a little overexcited.
This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't really what I expected. I'd read things comparing it to 'The Alienist' so I was expecting a serious, realistic thriller set in the 19th century. It wasn't. Although the author did his research on
Mar 10, 2012 David rated it it was ok
The Technologists has all the ingredients to create a compelling Boston sited historical thriller. The only thing missing is a good story. At first, I thought that a story about the beginning of MIT with a historical fiction component would make for a great tale but somehow, at least for me, Pearl manages to dilute the post-Civil War Boston scene into a story that appears to be a supernatural story. The plot eventually settles on a path that mires upwards of fifteen potential villains that might ...more
Dan Radovich
Sep 09, 2011 Dan Radovich rated it really liked it
A new favorite from one of America's better historical thriller writers. Pearl creates fantastic adventures spinning fact with fiction and you can believe everything. THE TECHNOLOGISTS takes you to Boston in 1868, the first graduating of MIT prepared to meet the world. He starts the story off with a huge BANG and from there the pace gets ever faster. Sub-plots, major and minor, are handled with the typical Pearl skill. Nothing he spins into his story is un-needed, this guy really can write. The ...more
Author Matthew Pearl recreates post-Civil War Boston in this mystery-thriller. To that end, much of the book is spent establishing the historical Zeitgeist. Despite it's prospering manufacturing and shipping industries, Boston was a very conservative city, conscious of social class and “Brahmin” family lines, hobbled by the weight of tradition. Harvard University already enjoyed its elite aura with a curriculum that adhered to mastery of Latin, Greek, classical literature and history as the foun ...more
Aug 11, 2011 Julia rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
3.5 stars, won in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Matthew Pearl's The Technologists is the fictional story of several students of the inaugural class of MIT, as they race to stop a mad man from destroying Boston.

The Technolgists opens with the events of a mysterious harbor disaster as boat crew mates and sailors find their compasses going haywire. On a night when the harbor is blanketed by heavy fog, this leads to a huge disaster as ships crash into each other and into the docks, destroying the harbor. Sh
Feb 05, 2012 Franky rated it liked it
In The Technologists, Pearl blends historical with fiction and fantasy to pit the original MIT team against a technologically-savvy villain in late nineteenth century Boston. Dubbing themselves “The Technologists,” the brainy team uses their scientific backgrounds in attempts to unearth bizarre catastrophic events happening within the Boston area. The plot focuses on the team’s efforts to piece together the causes of the catastrophe as well as their hopes of saving the city from its next potenti ...more
Susan Tunis
Mar 22, 2012 Susan Tunis rated it liked it
My long-awaited intro to Pearl is a mixed bag

I’ve had a galley of Matthew Pearl’s The Dante Club sitting on my bookshelf since before it was published. How long ago was that? That’s how long I’ve been meaning to get around to reading the man. Story of my life. Hurrah! I have finally met this goal!

Set in 1868, this period thriller opens with an act of terrorism. Early one Boston morning, several ships’ compasses and other instruments fail. In the fog, they crash into each other and the wharves. T
Patrice Hoffman
*Won Through a Goodreads Giveaway*

It is no secret I enjoy historical-fictions wrapped in a mysterious cloak. The history is a very important part of our society and should be reflected on as often as possible. I am able to do this by reading books that are set in times where the world was completely different. The Technologists is set in 1868's Boston. The Civil War had been over for a few years and the world was a changing place. Technology and sciences were amongst those changes that was not a
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
This is a hefty historical (496 pages) with a good chunk of nerdiness, a big cast, and a lovely mix of fantasy and fact.  Set in the late 1860s, the story follows the first class of MIT -- the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- while the city of Boston is being plagued by bizarre disasters.  In an era when the word 'technology' was feared and the aims of MIT distrusted, the scientific studies pursued by the students was challenge enough, but made all the more difficult as the public accuse ...more
Maya Panika
Jan 19, 2012 Maya Panika rated it really liked it
Fact and fantasy mix in this intricately woven and engaging tale of the first MIT graduates taking on a mad-scientist bent on death and destruction in the city of Boston.

The plot is wildly, madly, terrifically unbelievable! Several stories interweave – the battles between town and gown - and gown and gown, the terror of ordinary people and traditional academia of the new science that is steamrollering over their world, memories of the very recent Civil War, the burgeoning fight for female indep
The Technologists are the first ready to graduate seniors, and a freshman young woman at Massachusetts Institute if Technology in Boston.With the Civil War just barely in the rear view mirror,it is an exciting, tumultuous time.Big strides are being made in technology, and with innovation as we all know comes fear.
Boston is besieged by increasingly dramatic, frightening and dangerous phenomenon.And the most likely culprits to the police and general population are the students at MIT.In turn, The
Jul 29, 2014 Margolcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Po raz kolejny sięgam po książkę M.Pearl'a. Ulegałam ponownemu zauroczeniu. Literacko wspaniała, dojrzała, bogata w szczegóły i co cenię bardzo w powieści - ma silne, wyraźne tło miejsca i czasu. Wędrowałam z bohaterami po Bostonie, poznawałam jego obraz, kropla po kropli. Klimat XIX-wiecznego świata Ameryki Północnej, jego specyfikę i okoliczności, w jakich rozgrywały się zdarzenia. Najważniejsze są jednak ludzkie namiętności. Miłość, zemsta, nienawiść, przyjaźń, wierność ideałom i autorytetom, ...more
Mar 08, 2012 Felice rated it it was ok
Matthew Pearl has made a career out of capitalizing on authors we love. He’s the ultimate success story in fan fiction. In his novels: The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow and The Last Dickens Pearl build on our general knowledge of the lives of Dante, Poe and Dickens to become enjoyable What If mysteries that allow us to visit a favorite writer. However Pearl’s latest novel, The Technologists doesn’t have that classics author hook that has served him so well. I guess in that regard it is his first st ...more
Peter Boysen
Sep 02, 2012 Peter Boysen rated it really liked it
It would take a vivid imagination to conjure up a way to dump enough iron in Boston Harbor to interfere with the compass of every ship that comes in -- and spook thousands of superstitious sailors. Even more so to find a way to rig all of the fire hydrants on a city block so that they release a noxious gas that turns all of the glass on that block to liquid. And then to use the railway system to...well, I can't tell you everything.

I can tell you that this latest offering from the author of The D
Paul Pessolano
May 01, 2012 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
“The Technologists” by Matthew Pearl, published by Random House.

Category – Mystery/Thriller

If you have read any of the previous books of Matthew Pearl you know that his books are based on actual events in history that he adds fiction and mystery to the story.

In “The Technologists” Pearl goes back to Boston in 1868 and traces the beginning of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Technologists are formed of four members of the student body, but only after Boston has been struck by severa
Dec 22, 2012 Bob rated it really liked it
April 4, 1868 and Boston harbor is shut down with a heavy fog when shipping entering or leaving the port experience all the compasses going wild causing many crashes between ships and with docks.
This is the beginning of a book about the compass disaster and several others causing damage and loss of life in the city, The first graduating class of a new technological institute (MIT) and the lack of acceptance and fear of the “New Science”. Several of the soon to be graduates decide to investigate
May 10, 2012 DWGibb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This time Pearl turned his back on his historical literary friends and opted for the first class of would-be engineers at MIT, known only in the book as the Institute of Technology. He returns to what apparently is his first love geographically, Boston, although this time I sense a certain disdain for Harvard. Perhaps that's necessary because the academic tradition of Harvard has been thoroughly disrupted by this upstart school of science and engineering out on the marshy flats.

But after a serie
Jul 27, 2012 Susan added it
I listened to the unabridged audio version of this book and I really liked it. I will admit it was a little methodical to begin with but if you sit back and enjoy the ride back in time - it is worth it. I found it fascinating to view the fear and suspicion that people felt toward technological advances in this time period and compared it with the current outcries against stem cells, (evolution), etc. that are happening today.

I enjoyed listening to this book and would recommend it. I will defini
It is 1868 and MIT is getting ready for its first graduation but things are not well in Boston. Someone seems to want the world's first school of technology to fail in grand style. Compasses go awry, glass melts, explosions occur and no one knows who is causing such havoc but the students of MIT are the main suspects because everyone is afraid of science and technology. Can the MIT students save the day and prove their worth? Twists and turns abound!

Though this is a work of fiction there is much
Mar 15, 2012 Robert rated it did not like it
I bought this book hoping for something like a Preston and Child Pendergast novel set in late 1860's Boston. It's nothing like that. It's sprinkled with a few 19th century words and idioms, some archaic chemistry terms, and a few references to old Boston and the Back Bay. That's about it. Oh, yes, and there is the 19th century male chauvinism. Otherwise, most of the dialog could be from today.

The plot could be quite interesting if it moved rather than crawled along under the burden of way to mu
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book Giveaways: Two Book Giveaway Options 2 14 Mar 08, 2012 05:50AM  
Free Books, .99 &...: Two Book Giveaway Options 1 11 Mar 05, 2012 06:10AM  
  • Start Shooting
  • City of Silver: A Mystery
  • The Truth of All Things
  • Darkness Rising (Liebermann Papers, #4)
  • India Was One
  • The Bedlam Detective (Sebastian Becker, #2)
  • The Ninth Day (Emma Caldridge, #3)
  • A Killing Season (Medieval Mystery, #8)
  • The Brothers of Baker Street (Baker Street Letters, #2)
  • Ratlines
  • The Webs of Varok (The Archives of Varok #2)
  • The Pale Blue Eye
  • The Printmaker's Daughter
  • Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little
  • Wind in the Grasses Dancing (Dancing the Dream, #1)
  • The Blood of Lorraine: A Novel
  • The Anatomy of Ghosts
  • Tennyson's Gift: Stories from the Lynne Truss Omnibus, Book 2
Matthew Pearl is the author of the novels The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, The Last Dickens, The Technologists, and The Last Bookaneer. His books have been New York Times bestsellers and international bestsellers translated into more than 30 languages. His nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and He has been heard on shows incl ...more
More about Matthew Pearl...

Share This Book

“Every scientific truth goes through three stages. First, people say it conflicts with the Bible. Second, they say it has been discovered before. Last, they say they always believed it.” 6 likes
“Money is good, but it is not all about a man. You will have successes and reversals, but remember it is your reaction to each of them that counts for your character.” 3 likes
More quotes…