Edwardian England: Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck



Although not as good as Larson’s The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck deals with a little known era, at least to this reader, Edwardian England before WWI. Besides mystery which drew me in, the science and history behind the beginnings of wireless communication pulled me in. There is a fair amount of the science and the history in this so listening to, rather than reading it, was better for me. Larson alternates between the mystery, a murder of a socialite and the development of the wireless. Eventually the two converge outside of New York where the killers are apprehended in fine fashion. At times, I was lost and at times it was hard to tell which character was speaking, but Thunderstruck held my attention. Larson’s weaving of history into the narrative in this reader’s opinion was far better, more nuanced than the dry recitation of A.S. Byatt in The Children’s Book, though both complement each other and give readers a more informed view of pre-WWI England than does the hit television series Downton Abbey.