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Extended Audio Sample Thunderstruck Audiobook, by Erik Larson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (12,096 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Erik Larson Narrator: Bob Balaban Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2006 ISBN: 9780739339664
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City, 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 cases 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 murder.

With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through a relentlessly suspenseful chase over 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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Quotes & Awards

  • Larson's gift for rendering an historical era with vibrant tactility and filling it with surprising personalities makes Thunderstruck an irresistible tale...He beautifully captures the awe that greeted early wireless transmissions on shipboard...he restores life to this fascinating, long-lost world. Washington Post "Of all the non-fiction writers working today, Erik Larson seems to have the most delicious fun...for his newest, destined-to-delight book, Thunderstruck, Larson has turned his sights on Edwardian London, a place alive with new science and seances, anonymous crowds and some stunningly peculiar personalities

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine | 2/17/2014

    " This was not my favorite Larson book. The story of the possible murder interested me much more than the parts about Macaroni. I felt that Larson spent too much time on the technicalities of radio waves which is a subject a non-science major like myself has trouble understanding. Unlike "Murder in the White City, the connection between the two stories in this book seemed more forced. It was interesting to find out that Marconi had little formal education and that his success was largely achieved through trial and error. Lots of trials and lots of errors! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alyssa | 2/7/2014

    " Very interesting. While on one hand it gives a fascinating history of two men, Marconi the inventor and Crippen the murderer, on the other it jumps between these two men so much, that it is hard to keep track of both. And the connection between the two doesn't become apparent until nearly the end of it (which isn't much of a connection at all between the actual men). Overall, kind of confusing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Suz | 2/7/2014

    " I've read other books by Larson. This was not my favorite... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 2/6/2014

    " great interweaving of 2 disparate yet ultimately linked stories "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Nelson-Miller | 1/26/2014

    " I like his 'history as a novel' books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rysiegel | 1/26/2014

    " Exciting and interesting but not as good as Devil and the White City. Still my husband LOVED it. We later read an article which addresses his guilt or innocence "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Dexheimer | 1/20/2014

    " Another excellent read - if you're into historical non fiction, you'll enjoy this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judi | 1/20/2014

    " Erik Larson writes an interesting book, always, and Thunderstruck, about Marconi, is no exception. Nevertheless, this book is a far cry from Devil in the White City, and there were parts I had to force myself to read because I found the long, detailed descriptions of radio wave technology tedious. I also didn't like the way he skipped around in time; that took some getting used to. This is a worthwhile read, but not the most exciting book by Larson. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacy | 1/16/2014

    " Interconnected tales of a London murder suspect fleeing across the Atlantic, and Marconi's efforts to build a cross-ocean wireless system. Not as strong as Larson's other books: the connection between the two tales feels forced, and neither is especially strong on their own. 3.5 stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alice | 1/10/2014

    " 3 and a half to 3 and 3/4. This is an interesting book. I just didn't like it as much as Larson's other books I have read (Devil in the White City and Isaac's Storm). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terri Light | 12/7/2013

    " Even though the book highlighted Marconi and even mentioned Tesla a couple of times, I still liked "Devil in the White City" quite a bit more. I do enjoy the perspective Larson uses to weave moments in history together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shirley | 12/3/2013

    " It was kind of hard to read because it was slow and technical when it talked about Marconi. Overall, I'm glad I read it though. I would say it's worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kent | 11/30/2013

    " Crippen the murderer was a nice guy, Marconi the inventor was a dick. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katy Money | 11/9/2013

    " Second Larson book I have read, and I really enjoyed it. I even read the notes in the end. The murder in the book is sufficiently wicked. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan O | 10/15/2013

    " Transposes the development of wireless technology with a murder mystery. The two stories were well balanced and equally interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 6/14/2013

    " Erik Larson is amazing! His research is intense allowing him to write detailed books about events in history and make it sound like a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joyce M. Tice | 5/9/2013

    " I always enjoy Larson's masterful weaving of fact and interlinking stories. Well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 4/22/2013

    " I think the story of Marconi was very long. I did not enjoy this as much as In the Garden of the Beasts "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenna Bolerjack | 1/5/2013

    " My favorite of his books "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Seeds | 1/3/2013

    " This is two stories strangely connected but only at the end. One is the bloody and disturbing story of a murder, and one is the struggle of a well known figure in technical history. The connection only becomes clear toward the end, but that does not detract from the fascination. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elena Wood | 5/25/2012

    " Maybe 3 stars is too low, more like 3.5. I didn't like it as much as Devil in the White City, though I did very much like the story of Marconi. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charlie | 1/26/2012

    " I learned about the birth of wireless communication and a gruesome murder. What's not to like? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amayz | 1/2/2012

    " Not as good as Devil in the White City "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Johnvano | 9/2/2011

    " Wow! What a collision of circumstances. It's a murder mystery wrapped up in a short history of the invention of wireless and the dawning age of media. A bit dry in the middle, but a triumph nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Marie | 8/9/2011

    " Interesting story, but a bit slow in the middle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aubree | 5/24/2011

    " Erik Larson is one of my favorite authors!! His books are riveting and I can't put them down until I'm done. Being a history nut, I love that everything he writes is historically accurate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 5/6/2011

    " Not as whiz-bang as "Devil," but still up my alley. Oh, those treacherous Edwardians! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenn | 5/3/2011

    " Definitely was kept interested by the crippen storyline but Marconi was a bit of a snore. Larson is an amazing nonfiction writer though that makes you feel like you are reading fiction! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 5/2/2011

    " A fascinating read about a murder and the development of the technology that would ultimately allow police to apprehend him. The first seeds of wireless communication were largely the result of a bit of knowledge and a lot of trial and error. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/1/2011

    " Identical in structure to Devil and the White City, this book is not quite as gripping. But the murder tale is a good one and Larson makes the invention of wireless telegraphy more interesting than it has a right to be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 4/26/2011

    " Same setup as The Devil in the White City - a juxtaposition of two histories and how they butterfly effected each other. Very cool. The author definitely does his research. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicholas | 4/26/2011

    " Getting through the first few hours of regurgitated trivia was tough, but it ended up being a good story in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 4/23/2011

    " Not nearly as good as "The Devil in the White City." The last 50 pages were the best; they went by much faster than the rest of the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thebarrys10 | 4/16/2011

    " This author really researches his books-maybe a little more information than I wanted about the first telegraph invention, but since I was listening to it, I didn't mind at all. The is a second story going on at the same time-a murder. B oth are true accounts and interesting! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 4/14/2011

    " In general, I liked the story and I would and will read anything Larson writes because he is a superb storyteller. However, this got a little dry and I have no choice but to chock it up to faulty editing. Incidentally, am looking forward to his forthcoming book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 4/14/2011

    " Another true crime story from Erik Larson (Devil in the White City) and a social history as well. A sympathetic murderer, a trans-Atlantic crossing, a newfangled invention--it all adds up to an absorbing read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 4/13/2011

    " Love everything from Erik Larson. Has a unique way of mixing scientific breakthroughs and history. Loved this book! "

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About the Author
Author Erik Larson

Erik Larson is the author of four national bestsellers: In the Garden of Beasts,Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac’s Storm, which have collectively sold more than five million copies and two of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers. His books have been published in fourteen countries.

About the Narrator

Bob Balaban is the author of the McGrowl series for young readers, and he has appeared in nearly one hundred movies, including Midnight Cowboy, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Waiting for Guffman, and Moonrise Kingdom. He has been nominated for an Oscar, a Tony, four Emmys, a Producers Guild Award, two Directors Guild Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, one of which he won for his appearance in Gosford Park, a film he also produced. A Chicago native, he now lives in Bridgehampton, New York.