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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: Tony Goldwyn Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2006 ISBN: 9780739339640
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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 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.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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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

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan Gabree | 2/15/2014

    " Great story. You will never look at a radio the same again. As usual, Larson mixes two stories together with a great background in the history of Marconi and the development of early radio. Complete with the national politics and the ultimate utilization of this new technology, this book is gripping from start to end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simone | 2/3/2014

    " Loved the murder mystery, but the Marconi parts drug on a bit too much for my taste. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 1/31/2014

    " Somewhat interest novel of two historic events that cross paths "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie | 1/30/2014

    " Loved it. Wonderful historical fiction during a great era. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Freeland | 1/27/2014

    " Interesting to learn about Marconi's evolution to develop wireless technology, but the connection to Dr. Crippen was a stretch. The story line seemed parallel rather than entwined as was The Devil in the White City. Still, Larson spins a fine tale and the book was fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tasha | 1/7/2014

    " I really like this author. His works are nonfiction yet very interesting. This is only a 3.5 though (as opposed to 5s on the others) because it wasn't quite as captivating. There is a lot of technical info on the telegram part of it that was what made it less stars. But I did love the murder and the events leading up to that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JoJo | 12/29/2013

    " As always, Larson is a little long winded, but if you can survive his long asides, the book is a pleasant read. Larson does his research impeccably and does a great job of capturing the time period he is describing as accurately as possible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leah | 12/13/2013

    " Last 100 pages flew by! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy Fecteau | 11/4/2013

    " I enjoyed Thunderstruck, but I didn't feel the two stories, the murder and Marconi meshed as well together in The Devil and The White City. Still would rec to any radio/historical murder buff. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debra Clay | 10/20/2013

    " The two topics just did not "connect" for me "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley Blanchette | 9/22/2013

    " Larson is a fantastic author that is able to weave a murder mystery, the history of the beginnings of cell phone science and a snapshot of what it was like to live in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Always entertaining and informative! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katy Money | 9/22/2013

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 9/16/2013

    " I really liked the mix of science & mystery. Much more reminiscent of Devil in the White City, rather than In the Garden of Beasts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Geiling | 5/20/2013

    " True to form, Erik Larson weaves murder with history and how at times both collide. While "The Devil In The White City" i thought was better, Thunderstuck still provided the suspense as his earlier work. A good read (no pun intended) nonetheless. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mary Jo | 3/11/2013

    " I gave up as I just couldn't get into it! I won't waste my time reading something that doesn't interest me, when there are so many great books out there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicholas Doyle | 1/11/2013

    " While I didn't like it as much as Devil In the White City, this book was still pretty great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz Jones | 9/14/2012

    " Some parts Larson at his best, others dragging. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pjsimps1 | 8/15/2012

    " The two story lines were both good, but it seemed a bit of a stretch to tie them together. They did not mesh as well as the story lines in The Devil in the White City. I still liked this book, but it wasn't as seemless or as good as the previous book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily Sours | 3/7/2012

    " fantastic, though the marconi story got a tad boring when politics entered, hence the four stars instead of five. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd Cumpston | 11/6/2011

    " Enjoyable, interesting story, contrasting two parallel events and how they intertwine. I am a sucker for a well told history story, and this is certainly one! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 10/27/2011

    " I love Erik Larson's books. Full of intrigue, all ends are tied, and I learn a lot. Every time I see a radio tower, I now think of Marconi and how his inventions helped capture a murderer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donetta | 8/13/2011

    " Not as good as "Devil in White City", but was still a good read. Haunting and revealing, writing was executed in great corresponding fashion with Dr. Crippen's story and Marconi. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly Klobucher | 7/26/2011

    " Not quite as good as Devil in the White City, but it may just be that I am more interested in the subjects surrounding the Columbian Exposition. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarahbee | 6/13/2011

    " This is about a murderer and Marconi, done in the typical way Larsen has of weaving two stories together. I was bored by the Marconi portion, which was half the book. I'm not sure the author wanted Marconi to be unsympathetic but he was. I guess I enjoyed half of this book! "

  • 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

Tony Goldwyn is an actor and director. He got his start on the big screen in horror films and then quickly moved up to supporting roles in some of Hollywood’s biggest pictures, including Ghost and The Pelican Brief. He directed the highly regarded film A Walk on the Moon, as well as Imaging Nathan and Animal Husbandry. He is married to actress Jane Musky and they have two daughters.