Items related to Thunderstruck

Erik Larson Thunderstruck

ISBN 13: 9780385608459

Thunderstruck

3.75 avg rating
( 42,685 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780385608459: Thunderstruck
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

The story of a murder and the birth of wireless communications - very interesting read!

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Erik Larson is the bestselling author of the National Book Award finalist and Edgar Award–winning The Devil in the White City. He lives in Seattle with his wife, three daughters, and a dog named Molly.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

Ghosts and Gunfire Distraction

In the ardently held view of one camp, the story had its rightful beginning on the night of June 4, 1894, at 21 Albemarle Street, London, the address of the Royal Institution. Though one of Britain’s most august scientific bodies, it occupied a building of modest proportion, only three floors. The false columns affixed to its facade were an afterthought, meant to impart a little grandeur. It housed a lecture hall, a laboratory, living quarters, and a bar where members could gather to discuss the latest scientific advances.
Inside the hall, a physicist of great renown readied himself to deliver the evening’s presentation. He hoped to startle his audience, certainly, but otherwise he had no inkling that this lecture would prove the most important of his life and a source of conflict for decades to come. His name was Oliver Lodge, and really the outcome was his own fault— another manifestation of what even he acknowledged to be a fundamental flaw in how he approached his work. In the moments remaining before his talk, he made one last check of an array of electrical apparatus positioned on a demonstration table, some of it familiar, most unlike anything seen before in this hall.
Outside on Albemarle Street the police confronted their usual traffic problem. Scores of carriages crowded the street and gave it the look of a great black seam of coal. While the air in the surrounding neighborhood of Mayfair was scented with lime and the rich cloying sweetness of hothouse flowers, here the street stank of urine and manure, despite the efforts of the young, red-shirted “street orderlies” who moved among the horses collecting ill-timed deposits. Officers of the Metropolitan Police directed drivers to be quick about exiting the street once their passengers had departed. The men wore black, the women gowns.
Established in 1799 for the “diffusion of knowledge, and facilitating the general introduction of useful mechanical improvements,” the Royal Institution had been the scene of great discoveries. Within its laboratories Humphry Davy had found sodium and potassium and devised the miner’s safety lamp, and Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction, the phenomenon whereby electricity running through one circuit induces a current in another. The institution’s lectures, the “Friday Evening Discourses,” became so popular, the traffic outside so chaotic, that London officials were forced to turn Albemarle into London’s first one-way street.
Lodge was a professor of physics at the new University College of Liverpool, where his laboratory was housed in a space that once had been the padded cell of a lunatic asylum. At first glance he seemed the embodiment of established British science. He wore a heavy beard misted with gray, and his head—“the great head,” as a friend put it—was eggshell bald to a point just above his ears, where his hair swept back into a tangle of curls. He stood six feet three inches tall and weighed about 210 pounds. A young woman once reported that the experience of dancing with Lodge had been akin to dancing with the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Though considered a kind man, in his youth Lodge had exhibited a cruel vein that, as he grew older, caused him regret and astonishment. While a student at a small school, Combs Rectory, he had formed a club, the Combs Rectory Birds’ Nest Destroying Society, whose members hunted nests and ransacked them, smashing eggs and killing fledglings, then firing at the parent birds with slingshots. Lodge recalled once beating a dog with a toy whip but dismissed this incident as an artifact of childhood cruelty. “Whatever faults I may have,” he wrote in his memoir, “cruelty is not one of them; it is the one thing that is utterly repugnant.”
Lodge had come of age during a time when scientists began to coax from the mists a host of previously invisible phenomena, particularly in the realm of electricity and magnetism. He recalled how lectures at the Royal Institution would set his imagination alight. “I have walked back through the streets of London, or across Fitzroy Square, with a sense of unreality in everything around, an opening up of deep things in the universe, which put all ordinary objects of sense into the shade, so that the square and its railings, the houses, the carts, and the people, seemed like shadowy unrealities, phantasmal appearances, partly screening, but partly permeated by, the mental and spiritual reality behind.”
The Royal Institution became for Lodge “a sort of sacred place,” he wrote, “where pure science was enthroned to be worshipped for its own sake.” He believed the finest science was theoretical science, and he scorned what he and other like-minded scientists called “practicians,” the new heathen, inventors and engineers and tinkerers who eschewed theoretical research for blind experimentation and whose motive was commercial gain. Lodge once described the patent process as “inappropriate and repulsive.”
As his career advanced, he too was asked to deliver Friday Evening Discourses, and he reveled in the opportunity to put nature’s secrets on display. When a scientific breakthrough occurred, he tried to be first to bring it to public notice, a pattern he had begun as early as 1877, when he acquired one of the first phonographs and brought it to England for a public demonstration, but his infatuation with the new had a corollary effect: a vulnerability to distraction. He exhibited a lofty dilettantism that late in life he acknowledged had been a fatal flaw. “As it is,” he wrote, “I have taken an interest in many subjects, and spread myself over a considerable range—a procedure which, I suppose, has been good for my education, though not so prolific of results.” Whenever his scientific research threatened to lead to a breakthrough, he wrote, “I became afflicted with a kind of excitement which caused me to pause and not pursue that path to the luminous end. . . . It is an odd feeling, and has been the cause of my not clinching many subjects, not following up the path on which I had set my feet.”
To the dismay of peers, one of his greatest distractions was the world of the supernatural. He was a member of the Society for Psychical  Research, established in 1882 by a group of level-headed souls, mostly scientists and philosophers, to bring scientific scrutiny to ghosts, séances, telepathy, and other paranormal events, or as the society stated in each issue of its Journal, “to examine without prejudice or prepossession and in a scientific spirit, those faculties of man, real or supposed, which appear to be inexplicable on any generally recognized hypothesis.” The society’s constitution stated that membership did not imply belief in “physical forces other than those recognized by Physical Science.” That the SPR had a Committee on Haunted Houses deterred no one. Its membership expanded quickly to include sixty university dons and some of the brightest lights of the era, among them John Ruskin, H. G. Wells, William E. Gladstone, Samuel Clemens (better known as Mark Twain), and the Rev. C. L. Dodgson (with the equally prominent pen name Lewis Carroll). The roster also listed Arthur Balfour, a future prime minister of England, and William James, a pioneer in psychology, who by the summer of 1894 had been named the society’s president.
It was Lodge’s inquisitiveness, not a belief in ghosts, that first drove him to become a member of the SPR. The occult was for him just one more invisible realm worthy of exploration, the outermost province of the emerging science of psychology. The unveiling during Lodge’s life of so many hitherto unimagined physical phenomena, among them Heinrich Hertz’s discovery of electromagnetic waves, suggested to him that the world of the mind must harbor secrets of its own. The fact that waves could travel through the ether seemed to confirm the existence of another plane of reality. If one could send electromagnetic waves through the ether, was it such an outrageous next step to suppose that the spiritual essence of human beings, an electromagnetic soul, might also exist within the ether and thus explain the hauntings and spirit rappings that had become such a fixture of common legend? Reports of ghosts inhabiting country houses, poltergeists rattling abbeys, spirits knocking on tables during séances—all these in the eyes of Lodge and fellow members of the society seemed as worthy of dispassionate analysis as the invisible travels of an electromagnetic wave.
Within a few years of his joining the SPR, however, events challenged Lodge’s ability to maintain his scientific remove. In Boston William James began hearing from his own family about a certain “Mrs. Piper”—Lenore Piper—a medium who was gaining notoriety for possessing strange powers. Intending to expose her as a fraud, James arranged a sitting and found himself enthralled. He suggested that the society invite Mrs. Piper to England for a series of experiments. She and her two daughters sailed to Liverpool in November 1889 and then traveled to Cambridge, where a sequence of sittings took place under the close observation of SPR members. Lodge arranged a sitting of his own and suddenly found himself listening to his dead aunt Anne, a beloved woman of lively intellect who had abetted his drive to become a scientist against the wishes of his father. She once had told Lodge that after her death she would come back to visit if she could, and now, in a voice he remembered, she reminded him of that promise. “This,” he wrote, “was an unusual thing to happen.”
To Lodge, the encounter seemed proof that some part of the human mind persisted even after death. It left him, he wrote, “thoroughly convinced not only of human survival, but of the power to ...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Buy Used
Dispatched, from the UK, within... Learn more about this copy

Shipping: US$ 5.49
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.

Destination, rates & speeds

Add to Basket

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781400080670: Thunderstruck

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 1400080673 ISBN 13: 9781400080670
Publisher: Crown, 2007
Softcover

9781400080663: Thunderstruck

Crown, 2006
Hardcover

9780739326763: Thunderstruck

Random..., 2006
Hardcover

9780553817089: Thunderstruck

BANTAM, 2008
Softcover

9780385608466: Thunderstruck

Doubleday, 2006
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

Stock Image

1.

Larson, Erik
Published by Doubleday (2007)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Reuseabook
(Gloucester, GLOS, United Kingdom)

Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Used; Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. This book is in good condition but will show signs of previous ownership. Please expect some creasing to the spine and/or minor damage to the cover. Aged book. Tanned pages and age spots, however, this will not interfere with reading. Ripped/damaged jacket. The dust jacket of this book is slightly damaged/ripped, however, this does not affect the internal condition. Seller Inventory # CHL6594438

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 7.01
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.49
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

2.

Erik Larson
Published by Transworld Publishers Limited (2007)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Better World Books Ltd
(Dunfermline, United Kingdom)

Book Description Condition: Very Good. Ships from the UK. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # 38377139-20

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 5.92
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.91
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

3.

Larson, Erik
Published by Doubleday (2007)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Goldstone Books
(Llandybie, United Kingdom)

Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. All orders are dispatched the following working day from our UK warehouse. Established in 2004, we have over 500,000 books in stock. No quibble refund if not completely satisfied. Seller Inventory # mon0005655497

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 5.60
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 8.28
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

4.

Larson, Erik
Published by Doubleday (2007)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
WeBuyBooks
(Rossendale, LANCS, United Kingdom)

Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Good. Light fading / sunning to the spine end of the cover, otherwise fine. Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Seller Inventory # mon0017189749

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 11.54
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.47
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Seller Image

5.

Larson, Erik
Published by Doubleday, London, UK (2006)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover First Edition Quantity: 1
Seller:
James Hulme Books
(Stourbridge, United Kingdom)

Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. Fist printing. Binding is very firm in black cloth boards with gilt titling to spine. Text pages, in text illustrations and end paper maps are all fine with no markings or inscriptions. Appears unread. The only fault is a little patchy toning to the closed edges. Dust jacket is unclipped with no damages. Despatched same or next working day in protective packaging. Seller Inventory # 011676

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 14.23
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 16.51
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

6.

Erik Larson
Published by Doubleday (1707)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Stephen White Books
(Bradford, United Kingdom)

Book Description Condition: Used: Good. Ex-library book, usual markings. Hardback with dust cover. Clean text, sound binding. Quick dispatch from UK seller. Seller Inventory # P_M16-G01_0007_ZZ_04/21

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 8.53
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 29.02
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Seller Image

7.

Larson, Erik
Published by Doubleday, London (2006)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover First Edition Quantity: 1
Seller:
Idle Booksellers PBFA
(Bradford, United Kingdom)

Book Description Cloth. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Size: 8vo - over 7" - 9" tall. Seller Inventory # 32532

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 12.81
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 31.78
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

8.

Larson, Erik
Published by Doubleday (1707)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover Quantity: 6
Seller:
WorldofBooks
(Goring-By-Sea, WS, United Kingdom)

Book Description Hardback. Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory # GOR003684383

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 5.75
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 41.45
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Seller Image

9.

Erik Larson
Published by Doubleday, UK (2006)
ISBN 10: 0385608454 ISBN 13: 9780385608459
Used Hardcover First Edition Quantity: 1
Seller:
powellbooks.co.uk of Somerset UK.
(Ilminster, SOM, United Kingdom)

Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. Written with his customary attention to detail, narrative drive and uncanny ability to bring a bygone era to life, the author recounts a fascinating and largely forgotten chapter from history. There is light speckling to the text block and the d/w shows light wear to the corners and extremities. A good, tight copy. Seller Inventory # 04662

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 21.35
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 38.69
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds