The Technologists

The Technologists

A Novel

Book - 2012
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The first class at M.I.T. The last hope for a city in peril.
The acclaimed author of The Dante Club reinvigorates the historical thriller. Matthew Pearl's spellbinding new novel transports readers to tumultuous nineteenth-century Boston, where the word "technology" represents a bold and frightening new concept. The fight for the future will hinge on . . .
Boston, 1868. The Civil War may be over but a new war has begun, one between the past and the present, tradition and technology. On a former marshy wasteland, the daring Massachusetts Institute of Technology is rising, its mission to harness science for the benefit of all and to open the doors of opportunity to everyone of merit. But in Boston Harbor a fiery cataclysm throws commerce into chaos, as ships' instruments spin inexplicably out of control. Soon after, another mysterious catastrophe devastates the heart of the city. Is it sabotage by scientific means or Nature revolting against man's attempt to control it?
The shocking disasters cast a pall over M.I.T. and provoke assaults from all sides--rival Harvard, labor unions, and a sensationalistic press. With their first graduation and the very survival of their groundbreaking college now in doubt, a band of the Institute's best and brightest students secretly come together to save innocent lives and track down the truth, armed with ingenuity and their unique scientific training.
Led by "charity scholar" Marcus Mansfield, a quiet Civil War veteran and one-time machinist struggling to find his footing in rarefied Boston society, the group is rounded out by irrepressible Robert Richards, the bluest of Beacon Hill bluebloods; Edwin Hoyt, class genius; and brilliant freshman Ellen Swallow, the Institute's lone, ostracized female student. Working against their small secret society, from within and without, are the arrayed forces of a stratified culture determined to resist change at all costs and a dark mastermind bent on the utter destruction of the city.
Studded with suspense and soaked in the rich historical atmosphere for which its author is renowned, The Technologists is a dazzling journey into a dangerous world not so very far from our own, as the America we know today begins to shimmer into being.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2012
ISBN: 9781400066575
Branch Call Number: PEAR
Characteristics: 480 p. ; 25 cm


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Mar 13, 2017

I didn't enjoy this one much. I can't say exactly why, but there were a few things.

This book was very premise driven. If 1868 MIT, and a touch of mystery are what drew you to this, then do read. Otherwise, that's mostly what this book is. It wasn't very character driven, but there were some good moments of dialogue. I was bummed to see some of the better characters go somewhat unused in the story; like Agnes.

Some of the plot was a bit cheesy and cliché. Like when the experimenter had a few too many plot disasters, that it began to seem overdone and unbelievable. And that's really a question of This sort of fiction. The author seems to be supposing a very real world, but he's adding parts that question what turn the material is taking. It almost seems like he's including these parts where characters are cruising around in submarines and building man made large scale chemical reactions, which I didn't quite swallow as possible.

After the mystery was solved, it seemed to draw out a bit more than I would have liked. It sort of reminded me of the movie Speed. Where Dennis Hopper's character was caught, they got of the bus, but there was an additional drawn out train climax. And don't get me wrong, seeing hopper's head get loppered was rewarding, as well as seeing reeves gettin' some, and bein' a badass for a few more scenes. However the book wasn't quite as succeeding in decapitations or badassery.

The author was a Harvard graduate, but the protagonists were very pro-MIT. This novel included a deep rivalry between the colleges. So, I thought that was sort of strange.

Jan 07, 2016

Matthew Pearl has crafted another superb historical mystery using
real people and events to craft a compelling fictional story. The year is
1868 and MIT is getting ready to graduate its very first class. MIT is a
new kind of college; everyone is allowed to enroll, not just the wealthy
and well connected. When a series of "scientific" disasters
strike Boston, the eyes of Harvard, the police, and the press turn toward
MIT. Some of the soon to graduate class, lead by civil war veteran Marcus
Mansfield, decide to find the real culprit behind these acts. Can Marcus
and the rest of the Technologists save the city and the reputation of
their school?

May 16, 2013

Contains a good mystery.

Dec 04, 2012

Gave up after about 200 pages of the over 500 page book of tedious writing about nothing towards solving some unusual events in Boston Harbor during MIT's founding days. I agree with this review and should have read it first before starting on this novel:

Nov 02, 2012

The Technologists --- by Mathew Pearl. The setting is Boston during the 1860s.
It is a period of optimism, a period of great technological and economic optimism. The telegraph has just been invented; steam powered railways are laying there ribbons of steel across the land. It is a period of great wealth accrued by the captains of industry as well as a period of poverty for many. The novel is set against the background the founding of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A handful of the institution first graduating class strive to keep the institution alive as they try to solve the puzzle of a number of strange, ominous events that have been visited upon Boston. Ship in the harbour are queerly run aground; window panes melt from their frames; Bostonions are stricken by a mysteriously and serious illness that cause them hallucinations and strange motions of the body. Frightening indeed. And on the face of it, quite inexplicable.
If you’ve been accustomed to a diet of “action” novels such as those written by Cussler you may find this novel staid by comparison. But the novel’s style and vocabulary attempts to capture the atmosphere of the period. The novel is thoughtful and instructive and a good detective novel to boot.

Mar 21, 2012

Not as compelling as the Dante Club, went on a bit too long and was fairly predictable.

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