Thoughts on: The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

February 29, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: The Technologists by Matthew Pearl on Blogcritics.

About:
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

My rating for The Technologists – 4

Great price on this book in paper or electronic for­mat
through the Man of la Book Affil­i­ate Account

More books by Matthew Pearl

Thoughts:
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?

Synopsis:
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.

Great price on this book in paper or electronic for­mat
through the Man of la Book Affil­i­ate Account

More books by Matthew Pearl

Give­away

  • Give­away ends: March 07, 2012

  • US/Canada Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • No PO Boxes

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

Congratulations: name as email

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:

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10 Comments

  • Leda E. Behseresht February 29, 2012 at 10:49 am

    This might be fun to read… I’m a techie that loves history and the civil war.

    Thanks!

  • Lilian Cheng February 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I’m definitely interested in this book since seeing it featured on Shelf Awareness.

    Not sure why, but the rafflecopter widgets don’t show up anymore?

  • Sheila K. February 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    The Rafflecopter won’t come up—HELP, please, I would love to enter for this book!!

  • carol February 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I loved the other Matthew Pearl book I read and this one sounds good. I have a soft spot for historical mysteries.

    I’d love to be entered, but like others have said, the rafflecopter doesn’t seem to be working.

  • Jennifer O. February 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I loved Pearl’s The Dante Club, but have yet to read any of his other novels.

    I’m a holding a giveaway of my own for a signed copy of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Stop by if you get a chance.

  • Laurie C February 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I tried and failed to win this on another blog, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for this one. Thanks!

  • Ryan March 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I’m having a bit of a time with this one, so I didn’t read your review yet. I’m not sure what I’m thinking at this point in time. Hopefully I’ll know when I’m done 🙂

  • Vesper March 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I like jux­ta­posed books and would be interested in reading this one

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours March 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    The evolution of knowledge and of what is accepted at truth throughout history fascinates me – I know I’d enjoy that aspect of this book.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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