Book Reviews of Thunderstruck (Audio CD) (Abridged)

Thunderstruck (Audio CD) (Abridged)
Thunderstruck - Audio CD - Abridged
Author: Erik Larson, Tony Goldwyn (Narrator)
Audio Books swap for two (2) credits.
ISBN-13: 9780739339633
ISBN-10: 073933963X
Publication Date: 10/24/2006
Edition: Abridged
Rating:
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 6

3 stars, based on 6 ratings
Publisher: RH Audio
Book Type: Audio CD
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

33 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Thunderstruck (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 902 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
I have been a fan of Erik Larson ever since I read Devil In The White City. Larson has a talent for making historical nonfiction read like a good mystery novel. While Thunderstruck did not disappoint, it is not on the same level as Devil.

I believe that the key to enjoying Larson's books is knowing what you're getting into. Both Devil and Thunderstruck involve two seemingly unrelated storylines, woven together to form some intersecting and intertwining conclusion. Larson gets you to that conclusion through meticulous research and a lot of detail. I did not find this book boring, but readers who do not like to trudge through pages of technical explanation and minute detail might disagree with me.

In other words, people who really enjoyed Devil might not necessarily enjoy this book. While Devil was a seriel killer murder mystery wrapped up in the glamour of the Chicago World's Fair, Thunderstruck is more of a slow march towards a single domestic murder wrapped up in the technological baby steps in the development of wireless communication. By nature, the subject matter of Thunderstruck will be less appealing to a wider audience.

With that said, I still enjoyed this book (even though I liked Devil better.) You can only do so much with the subject matter available to work with, and I think Larson pulled off Thunderstruck with good success. I think this book is certainly worth reading, but it's not a book that everyone would enjoy.
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Helpful Score: 7
I have been a fan of Erik Larson ever since I read Devil In The White City. Larson has a talent for making historical nonfiction read like a good mystery novel. While Thunderstruck did not disappoint, it is not on the same level as Devil.

I believe that the key to enjoying Larson's books is knowing what you're getting into. Both Devil and Thunderstruck involve two seemingly unrelated storylines, woven together to form some intersecting and intertwining conclusion. Larson gets you to that conclusion through meticulous research and a lot of detail. I did not find this book boring, but readers who do not like to trudge through pages of technical explanation and minute detail might disagree with me.

In other words, people who really enjoyed Devil might not necessarily enjoy this book. While Devil was a seriel killer murder mystery wrapped up in the glamour of the Chicago World's Fair, Thunderstruck is more of a slow march towards a single domestic murder wrapped up in the technological baby steps in the development of wireless communication. By nature, the subject matter of Thunderstruck will be less appealing to a wider audience.

With that said, I still enjoyed this book (even though I liked Devil better.) You can only do so much with the subject matter available to work with, and I think Larson pulled off Thunderstruck with good success. I think this book is certainly worth reading, but it's not a book that everyone would enjoy.
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Helpful Score: 5
Erik Larson is one of my favorite authors & his story-telling skills are unparalleled. In Thunderstruck, he weaves together seemingly unrelated stories about Marconi & the development of the wireless & the murder of a "celebrity". The way the two converge is astounding & Larson expertise shines through during this part of the story.

I found this book to be a bit slow-it took me a while to "get started" on it-but understand that Larson has an enormous back story to tell, so the details are necessary. If you love true crime & historical non-fiction, then this is a great book to read. I personally liked Larson's Issac's Storm about the 1900 Galveston Hurricane better, but this is definitely an engaging read.
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Helpful Score: 4
Not as good by far as Devil in a White City. Made it about 1/3 of the way through it and just couldn't finish it. Was more interested in the murder side of the story than of the radio side, but even that wasn't enough to hold my attention.
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Helpful Score: 2
This is an excellent read! There are two parallel stories: The difficultes Marconi had in developing his wireless radiotelegraph system (back in Edwardian times, the main use was for transatlantic communication between ships, and ships and land), and the story of Dr. Crippen's murder of his wife. Towards the end of the book the two stories intersect when Dr. Crippen and his lover (disguised as a young man) try to escape to America, and are recognized by the captain of their ship who sends wireless communications about their life on board. The book blurb is - for once - accurate in its praise of the book.

The characters are great, and you really get a feel for the Edwardian pre-WWI era.
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Helpful Score: 1
There are some writers that are just good writers. This may not be quite as compelling as 'Devil in the White City', but it doesn't really matter. Erik Larson is just a good storyteller. He gives all sorts of details around someone's life or invention that are just fascinating. He makes the person and that person's time in history come alive. So I liked Thunderstruck very much...and 'Isaac's Storm'...and 'Devil in the White City'. I feel this way about David McCullough also. He makes the person, the event, the time of the story come alive.
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Helpful Score: 1
I have been a fan of Erik Larson ever since I read Devil In The White City. Larson has a talent for making historical nonfiction read like a good mystery novel. While Thunderstruck did not disappoint, it is not on the same level as Devil.

I believe that the key to enjoying Larson's books is knowing what you're getting into. Both Devil and Thunderstruck involve two seemingly unrelated storylines, woven together to form some intersecting and intertwining conclusion. Larson gets you to that conclusion through meticulous research and a lot of detail. I did not find this book boring, but readers who do not like to trudge through pages of technical explanation and minute detail might disagree with me.

In other words, people who really enjoyed Devil might not necessarily enjoy this book. While Devil was a seriel killer murder mystery wrapped up in the glamour of the Chicago World's Fair, Thunderstruck is more of a slow march towards a single domestic murder wrapped up in the technological baby steps in the development of wireless communication. By nature, the subject matter of Thunderstruck will be less appealing to a wider audience.

With that said, I still enjoyed this book (even though I liked Devil better.) You can only do so much with the subject matter available to work with, and I think Larson pulled off Thunderstruck with good success. I think this book is certainly worth reading, but it's not a book that everyone would enjoy.
reviewed Thunderstruck (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Really enjoyed Devil in the White City, but this one was more difficult to keep reading. Dry and technical.
reviewed Thunderstruck (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Erik Larson seems to have created a formula for his books - take two disparate events (one small and intimate, one large and public), tell the stories simultaneously and show how they converge at some point. It is a combination that worked well in 'Devil in the White City' and 'In the Garden of Beasts'. The same formula works once more in this retelling of the development of wireless radio by Marconi and of a murder in London that grabbed global headlines. It was an interesting story but not riveting
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Interesting history and I like Larson's method of having two parallel stories.
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For about the first 100 pages I kept wondering when the real action would start & what could the stories possibly have in common. As usual Erik Larson came through with a thoroughly absorbing tale and I was anything but disappointed. Great story!
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excellant story, fast paced and intriqueing. Love, murder, and invention all in one, and true to boot. A great read!
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A very well written book. Proof of the fact that truth is always stranger than fiction. I highly recommend this book to all readers.
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While the story is written very well, the half dealing with Marconi was not so interesting to read, with a lot of repetitive events. It took a long time to tie the 2 events together and the connection wasn't terribly strong.
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I bought this book because I LOVED the authors prior book, "Devil in the White City."

"Thunderstruck" started out a bit slow for my taste - I found it a little difficult to follow some of the parts about Marconi and the cast of characters surrounding the wireless inventions.

However, I stuck with it and felt it really picked up with the "murder mystery" side of the story.

Still, not nearly as good as "Devil in the White City."
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An O.K. read; I found the two contigous stories disjointed and not easy to follow
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Was excited to read this book for my book group because I so enjoyed "Devil in the White City."

"Thunderstruck" started out a bit slow and just as I grew weary of the trials and tribulations of Marconi and others, the story of the murder began to gain energy.
The two stories bounced off each other well.

I will admit I found "Devil in the White City." more compelling, but "Thunderstruck" was a very good read and the Book Group had a really lively discussion.
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A true story of love, murder, and the end of the world's âgreat hushâ

In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two menâHawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communicationâwhose 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, âthe kindest of men,â 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.
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Unlike most of Erik Larson's work, I found this one a bit difficult to wade through. The Marconi sections were slow. However, he's still very skilled in presenting historical events is an interesting and readable way. I'll certainly continue to read his works!
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Absolutely loved this book. Larson managed to make us care about Dr. Crippen and his hapless girlfriend and obnoxious wife. And he brought Marconi and his complicated plan for domination of the wireless world alive. The two stories mesh surprisingly well in the age in which the principles lived. A wonderful and exciting tale with plenty of facts.
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This is the first Erik Larson book I've read, but it won't be the last. Thunderstruck is a true-crime narrative that evokes the Edwardian Era, with a wealth of detail that not only tries to illustrate possible motives of those it depicts; it brings those details to vivid life.

From back cover:
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.

With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through 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.
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Larson did a great job with this book. He weaves the tales separately of the two main characters and then shows how they very specifically intertwine to create Thunderstruck! This is a great non fiction read.
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Here I sit with this bitter-sweet feeling Erick Larson leaves me with. Bitter because I have come to the end of "Thunderstruck", but I have that sweet feeling of having read one of the best books available. Larson in this one as well as the other Larson novel I read, "The Devil and The White City" starts out with 2 unrelated stories and by the time the book ends the two stories twist together to make the book a memorial reading experience. He has a way of leaving even those that could care less about history enthralled with history, he has a way of grabbing a reader and fans are flocking into his grasp. Read it you will be glad you did.
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If you have read Larson before, you might be less-than-thrilled with this read. It is compellingly told, like all his writing. However, I found some of the detail mere "filler" rather than as interesting as his Isaac's Storm or Devil in the White City books.

Don't be turned off by my review, but rather don't expect the same as you found with those other texts.

If you are NEW to Larson, start here. This is a good read, told almost like a novel in the great genre of literary nonfiction or creative nonfiction. Then, move on to other Larson and you will not be disappointed.

This gives you a great glimpse into life at the time, provides scientific history told in an interesting way and explores human relationships, as well. Living in New England and frequenting Cape Cod, the town of Wellfleet now lays claim to Marconi. The book tells a slightly different tale. This reminds us how fickle history can be and how it is all merely "based on fact" but is oftentimes just as fictive or used for other purposes as they fit a time, community or society.

Enjoy!
reviewed Thunderstruck (Audio CD) (Abridged) on
I managed to get 50 pages into this book and was completed bored. If there will be a plot, it is slow to emerge. I read his other book, "Devil in the White City" and slogged through it.

Technically this is currently a best seller. I'm glad I got it from my local library.
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This is not nearly as good as Devil in the White City but still worth a read. It gives us a great historical picture of Marconi, an inventor with a flawed personality that makes for a terrible husband and father but a fantastic inventor. The books stumbles along with a lot of background information until midpoint when it fiivenally picks up with the Crippen murder of England coming to a head with Marconis wireless telegraph signals. The famous murder gives the story enough interest to keep reading. The fight between Marconi and his collaborators, demonstrates it takes more than know how to get great inventions to become historical events.
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Thunderstruck ties together the turn-of-the-century patent medicine industry, the international race to develop wireless communications, and the very weird series of events surrounding the Dr. Crippen murder. If you're a history buff, like me, you'll enjoy this book.
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Erik Larsons best work if you like the history of wireless and the early failed attempts at understanding wavelengths. They did not know that short waves traveled in the ionosphere better than long waves. The personal stories of Marconi and Dr. Crippen dovetail wonderfully, both dealing with failed marriages, one ending in murder, the other an agreeable end was reached so both parties could go on living. Good to know times have changed somewhat from 1910's expectations of marriage and the concept of divorce.
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I have been a fan of Erik Larson ever since I read Devil In The White City. Larson has a talent for making historical nonfiction read like a good mystery novel. While Thunderstruck did not disappoint, it is not on the same level as Devil.

I believe that the key to enjoying Larson's books is knowing what you're getting into. Both Devil and Thunderstruck involve two seemingly unrelated storylines, woven together to form some intersecting and intertwining conclusion. Larson gets you to that conclusion through meticulous research and a lot of detail. I did not find this book boring, but readers who do not like to trudge through pages of technical explanation and minute detail might disagree with me.

In other words, people who really enjoyed Devil might not necessarily enjoy this book. While Devil was a seriel killer murder mystery wrapped up in the glamour of the Chicago World's Fair, Thunderstruck is more of a slow march towards a single domestic murder wrapped up in the technological baby steps in the development of wireless communication. By nature, the subject matter of Thunderstruck will be less appealing to a wider audience.

With that said, I still enjoyed this book (even though I liked Devil better.) You can only do so much with the subject matter available to work with, and I think Larson pulled off Thunderstruck with good success. I think this book is certainly worth reading, but it's not a book that everyone would enjoy.
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This audio book was nothing like I expected. From the description of the book online, I would have never suspected I would get an entire history lesson about electrical engineering and the age of wireless. Even as someone who has never greatly enjoyed science, technology, or the detailed descriptions thereof, I still found this book very engaging and interesting. My husband, an electrical engineer, was absolutely fascinated with this book and couldn't get enough. He seemed to already know everything it detailed and was positively giddy to hear of the detailed encounters and competition between inventors.

I expected this book to be a lot more heavy on the murder it contained and the oceanliners than wireless invention. And eventually, it did get to the murder and how the oceanliners all fit into the story. I was patient, and it paid off. Apparently this was a very high profile murder in 1910, yet I had never heard of it, and was pleasantly surprised to learn almost every detail of this grand page in history.

This book was expertly written and there is absolutely no stone unturned. It has oodles and gobs of detail, and at times, I found myself pondering how many years it must've taken the writer to research and write this novel. It is quite a long book, and that is the only reason I don't give it 5 stars. There was a touch too much detail at times, and a few things could have been left out. Otherwise, I found the book most enjoyable, and a complete departure from which I generally delve.
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The book is about Dr. Hawley Crippen, a murderer and Guglielmo Marconi, the creator of ship to shore communication and the tie between the two. I have to admit, I was more interested in Crippen and what motivated him to murder his wife. This non-fiction book, like the other Larson novel, The Devil in White City, is well researched. I really enjoyed White City more since it was about turn of the century Chicago, my hometown. But if you are into novels of a historical nature and focused on the killers of those times, you'll enjoy an Erik Larson book.
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6 hours on 5 CDs. Narrated by Tony Goldwyn.
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Based on actual events (I think).