Posts Tagged ‘Hawley Crippen’

Thunderstruck by Eric Larson – A Quicky Review

I just did a quick write up at Goodreads on Eric Larson’s newest book, Thunderstruck.

Thunderstruck Thunderstruck by Erik Larson


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Not quite as good as Larson’s previous book, The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. This used a similar format, which is an alternating duo biography. The inventor of the wireless telegraphy, Guglielmo Marconi is half the focus of the book. The other half is on the mild-mannered murderer, Hawley Crippen. And how the two stories ultimately overlap. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to true crime books. I usually avoid the genre as being the subject of debased and vile human beings. (Strangely this qualm doesn’t bother me in fiction.) The two Eric Larson books that I’ve read mixes the debased human nature of true crime with the uplifting story of human triumph, in this case Guglielmo Marconi. Although in this book it’s a technological triumph. After listening to the audiobook, I’m impressed at the technical accomplishment and persistents of Marconi, but he doesn’t sound like the kind of guy you’d want to be buddy with. On the other hand Crippen, probable was.

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From the publisher’s description:

A true story of love, murder, and the end of the world’s “great hush”

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—whose 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.

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