Article first published as Book Review: The Technologists by Matthew Pearl on Blogcritics.
The Technologists by Matthew Pearl is a fictional book about the early days of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The story takes place in the years after the American Civil War during a very fragile time in our history.
The publisher is giving away one copy of this book— enter at the end of the post.
- 496 pages
- Publisher: Random House
- ISBN: 1400066573
The Technologists by Matthew Pearl (website) is an entertaining read with wonderful historical detail and a bunch of nerdiness thrown in for good measure. While I wasn’t sucked into the book as much as I would have liked, I found the characters captivating and the plot line interesting.
The author does a great job interweaving reality and fiction as well as the dialog which was spoken in that time period. The harsh social norms of the time are presented in the form of a lone MIT female student who is forced to study in isolation.
There were several intriguing aspects of this book, it is written almost as a futuristic novel, but of course with technology most of us consider antiquated. The ones I thought were the most interesting where the technological aspect, Harvard’s religious aspects, and flashbacks of the protagonist to the American Civil War.
The overreaching technology which the MIT students dealt with, old in today’s standards but presented in the book as the latest innovations (reminiscent of steampunk) are explained in an interesting way. Technology, then as is now, is sometimes seen as an evil, especially when it looks as if it might cost a whole class their living wage.
I have always held Harvard as a forward thinking university. This novel, and a quick confirmation on Google, taught me that it wasn’t always so. From my previous reading on American history it seemed to me that Harvard has always strove to innovate, but it seems that around that time Harvard upheld its religious standards higher than its scientific ones. The university wouldn’t admit students who aren’t Christians as well as oppose ideas which do not agree with the Christian dogma based on nothing but the ridiculous idea that religion shouldn’t be questioned.
A few of the chapters are told in flashbacks to the characters’ Civil War experience and how that experience came to influence them at the current timeline. Personally, I would have loved to read more about that era, chapters switching between war experience and how they affect peace time experiences. How the war technology which was meant to destroy can also be used to rebuild.
Overall, while not a page turner, I found The Technologists to be a solid, above average mystery, which holds itself together well, written by a gifted author.
This book reminded me of:
A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer
So tell me, do you like juxtaposed books?
A Civil War veteran & POW by the name of Marcus Mansfield is attending the first class of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a charity student. Even though he is not as rich as his counterparts, Marcus is smart and a scientist n heart and mind.
Mansfield and his colleagues decide to investigate recent strange occurrences which happened in the Boston Harbor and the city itself. What’s at stake is the future of MIT as well as modern science itself.
Giveaway ends: March 07, 2012
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TLC Book Tour for The Technologists:
Monday, February 13th: Book Chatter
Monday, February 20th: Book Club Classics
Wednesday, February 22nd: A Library of My Own
Thursday, February 23rd: Unabridged Chick
Friday, February 24th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, February 27th: Wandering Thoughts of a Scientific Housewife
Tuesday, February 28th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, February 29th: Man of La Book
Thursday, March 1st: Book Addict Katie
Monday, March 5th: Calico Critic
Wednesday, March 7th: Annette’s Book Spot
Monday, March 12th: S. Krishna’s Books
Wednesday, March 14th: Wordsmithonia
TBD: The House of Crime and Mystery
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours
BOOK BLOGGERS — Have you read The Technologists? If so link up your review below: