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 twentieth century. Gripping from the first page, 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Praise for "The Devil in the White City" "[Larson] relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramatic effect of a novel. . . . A dynamic, enveloping book." --Janet Maslin, "New York Times" "Hugely engrossing . . . exceedingly well-documented, exhaustive without being excessive, and utterly fascinating . . . deserves to be popular everywhere." --Rosellen Brown, "Chicago Tribune" "An irresistible page-turner that reads like the most compelling, sleep-defying fiction." --"Time Out New York" "A great story, recounted with authority, entertainment, and insight . . . Larson writes with marvelous confidence, enthusiasm, polish, and scholarship." --"New York Daily News" "Everything popular history should be." --"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) "Gripping drama, captured with a reporter's nose for a good story and a novelist's flair for telling it . . . Superb." --"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review) "So good, you find yourself asking how you could not know this already." --"Esquire"
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The Pope and the Heretic: The True Story of Giordano Bruno, the Man Who Dared to Defy the Roman Inquisition