Thunderstruck is a non-fiction book written by Erik Larson, published in 2003. The book tells the story of two separate events that occurred in the early 20th century, one involving the sinking of the Titanic and the other involving the race to invent the wireless radio. The book explores how these two events were interconnected and how they changed the course of history.
Chapter 1: The Race to Invent the Wireless Radio
The first chapter of Thunderstruck introduces the reader to the race to invent the wireless radio. The book describes how several inventors, including Guglielmo Marconi, were competing to create a device that could transmit messages wirelessly. The chapter also describes how the invention of the wireless radio changed the way people communicated and how it laid the groundwork for modern communication technologies.
Chapter 2: The Titanic Disaster
The second chapter of Thunderstruck focuses on the sinking of the Titanic. The book describes how the ship was built with the latest technology and how it was considered to be unsinkable. The chapter also describes the events leading up to the sinking, including the decision to sail at full speed despite receiving warnings about icebergs. The chapter also describes the aftermath of the disaster and how it changed the way ships were built and operated.
Chapter 3: The Marconi Company
The third chapter of Thunderstruck describes the Marconi Company, which was the leading wireless radio company at the time. The chapter describes how the company was able to monopolize the wireless radio market and how it used its power to control the airwaves. The chapter also describes how the Marconi Company was involved in the sinking of the Titanic and how it tried to cover up its role in the disaster.
Chapter 4: The Wreck of the SS Valencia
The fourth chapter of Thunderstruck describes the wreck of the SS Valencia, which was a Canadian Pacific steamship that ran aground off the coast of Vancouver Island in 1906. The chapter describes how the disaster was covered by the media and how it led to the development of new technologies for rescuing shipwrecked passengers. The chapter also describes how the SS Valencia was used as a test case for the wireless radio and how it helped to demonstrate its usefulness in rescue operations.
Chapter 5: The Trial of the Century
The fifth chapter of Thunderstruck describes the trial of Guglielmo Marconi, who was accused of causing the sinking of the Titanic by interfering with the ship’s wireless radio signals. The chapter describes how the trial was a media circus and how it helped to establish the importance of the wireless radio in modern society. The chapter also describes how Marconi was ultimately acquitted of all charges and how he went on to become a celebrated inventor.
In conclusion, Thunderstruck is a fascinating book that tells the story of two separate events that occurred in the early 20th century. The book shows how these events were interconnected and how they changed the course of history. The book also demonstrates the importance of technology in modern society and how it has transformed the way we communicate with each other. Overall, Thunderstruck is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of communication technologies.