Thunderstruck by Erik Larson – A Book Review

Thunderstruck has been on my shelf for a few years. It shouldn’t have been. It’s a non-fiction book that juxtaposes the Crippen murder in London with the development of the Marconi wireless, both in the early part of the 20th century. Since I knew very little about either topic, I was a little confused as to why the two topics were handled together in one work. I also went under the misapprehension for about half the book that these two events were happening simultaneously – they weren’t. Once I realized the development Marconi wireless occurred a few years prior to the Crippen murder, I relaxed and enjoyed the great writing. I don’t want to spoil the ending for those who were as uneducated as I about the two topics. But I will say I do enjoy reading about the development of technology and how it works to benefit society.

A lot of non-fiction books these days include dialogue and conversations in quotes. Many of these have no footnotes and I’ve wondered where they came from other than the writer drawing an inference of what was probably said. Erik Larson, to his credit, states that if something appears in quotes in Thunderstruck it’s because he’s found it in a document. The book contains a substantial note section which is almost as interesting as the book itself. I highly recommend.


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