Erik Lawson's third book (following Issac's Storm
and The Devil in the White City
, 2003) confirms him as a master of the
art of turning potentially dull history into riveting narrative.
In Issac's Storm
he wrote about Isaac Cline, the respected meteorologist
who, in 1891, refuted the public's request for a seawall to protect the city of
Galveston by stating that the idea of a hurricane doing serious harm was "an
absurd delusion". Nine years later Galveston Island was hit by a hurricane
that is still considered the biggest natural disaster in US history, killing
thousands including some of Cline's family.
Larson hit his stride in
The Devil in the White City
, by intertwining two true stories that
happened in the same timeframe - one tells of serial killer H.H. Holmes, neatly
pulling in true-crime aficionados;...
Beyond the Book
Winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize,
Guglielmo Marconi was born in Italy in 1874, the son of an Italian country
gentleman and Englishwoman, Annie Jameson. He was intrigued by electrical
science from an early age and at just 21 years of age he succeeded in sending
wireless signals over a distance of one and a half miles. A year later, in
1896, he was granted the world's first patent for a system of wireless
telegraphy, and shortly after formed The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company
Ltd. In 1890 he took out his famous patent No. 7777 for "tuned or syntonic
telegraphy". The following year he proved that wireless signals were not
effected by the curvature of the earth by transmitting a wireless signal across
the Atlantic between Cornwall and Newfoundland - a distance of...