Adrienne's Reviews > Thunderstruck

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
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Nov 10, 07

Read in November, 2007

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 non-scientific 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 sure more scientific 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, Elmore, 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 best--the chase. I have to say that my very favorite person in the novel was Captain Kendall. Unfortunately, he is not in the novel 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.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Gwen (new)

Gwen If you liked this one as much as you did, you'll really like Devil in the White City. Plus you'll know some of the places he talks about in the book. Now I'm going to have to read this one too!


Adrienne I kept asking about that one, but I was worried it was gross/creepy/nasty. But I suppose if I could handle Thunderstruck, I'd be OK (because it was pretty darn gross; James read it before me and told me which parts to skim over). I've got Devil in the White City on my list, though! Thanks!


message 3: by John (new)

John You might want to try Isaac's Storm by the same author--a much more poignant story than Devil or Thunder. Notice the ring on his finger on the cover.


Merty I loved all 3 books by Eric Larson that I read.

Does anyone know if he's coming out with a new book soon? I can't find anything on the web.


message 5: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa Isaac's storm was truly good! I haven't read Devil, but I am having a really hard time wading through Thunderstruck. I agree with the reviewer's opinion that this book really drags in some areas!


Tobi You really summed up exactly how I felt about the novel... all of it!


Laura Zinger Definitely agree that Captain Kendall was tge best character in the book, and the chase scene was dynamite! Great review!


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