Version: Abridged
Author: Erik Larson
Narrator: Tony Goldwyn
Genres: History, True Crime, Science & Technology
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: January 2011
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
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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 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 seances, 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.

Reviews (1)

Great period piece

Written by Anonymous from Lexington, KY on December 7th, 2014

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Love tales taking place in this period. I found the Marconi story fascinating. I'd never read much detail on that. And really enjoyed the doctor and his wife, wondering where is this intersecting. In the final chapter I was delighted when it dawned on me. Tony Goldwyn was delightful in his inflection of voice as to be in that period, and his voice is compelling at any time. Quite nice listen.

Author Details

Author Details

Larson, Erik

Erik Larson grew up in Freeport, Long Island and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Russian history and from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He has written for many newspapers and national magazines, and has published three previous works of nonfiction, Isaac's Storm, Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun, and The Naked Consumer. He lives in Seattle with his wife, their three daughters, and a host of pets.