“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 several disasters. The disasters, all fictional, have caused panic in the streets of Boston, so much so that people are leaving the city and commerce is slowed to a halt. The people of Boston have a fear of technology (a new science) that they believe the disasters must be caused by the students and faculty of “the Institute”.
The four students, one a young woman chemist that is forbidden to attend normal classes and must take her classes separately, feel that they are the only ones that can solve the mystery and preserve their institution.
In his afterword in the book Pearl informs the reader what facts he has pulled from history.
A highly entertaining read that gives real insight into the establishment of MIT and the trails that it had to go through due to public ignorance of the sciences.