Rated of 5
Large Efforts of Small Men
Once a young student with little or no appreciation of history, I now read books like Larson's with curiosity and genuine interest. This author weaves together the stories that made headlines at the last turn of the century. One person's actions put him in the Who's Who Timeline of all time (Marconi) and the other whose over-reaction to a bad marriage landed him in prison for life (Crippen). Both men were not the larger-than-life characters who play leading roles in many biographies or non-fiction writing. Rather, they were complex, confused; both were driven by strong emotions, one prodded by his competitors and peers - the other pushed past his limit by a demanding prima donna wife. Neither were able to stand proud, but both became small by their lack of integrity and inability to connect intimately. However, Marconi - listed as an inventor, struggles for years and lands on his feet for all posterity while Crippen ultimately fails after many attempts as a medical practitioner then commits a nearly perfect murder.
A page-turner, Larson's story takes you by the hand through engaging times - a journey nearly as intriguing as his earlier "Devil in the White City."