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OK, this is not serious, footnoted analytical history, of the kind I like to read (or tell myself "it is good for me"), but that kind of history doesn't often lend itself to good audio-listening. American Lightning does. It recovers the biography of the Burns detective agency, a story I did not know, it does a nice recounting of the wave of "anarchist" and organized labor bombings of symbols of capitalism in the first decade of the 20th century, including how famed lawyer Clarence Darrow got intertwined with it. And it (less successfully) incorporates the roots of the modern movie business in New York & S California in that period too.
The book is well-written & very well-read. It passes by as if effortlessly as an audiobook, although I suspect it would be more annoying to read due to some of its organizational jumpiness.
I recommend it very highly. Both for itself and, if it tickles your interest further, in directing the reader to learn more about the three protagonists in other books elsewhere.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, as I am partial to several of its features: Holmesian detective work, stories about trials, early 20th-century American history, silent films, etc. Something interesting was always going on.
However, at times the plot is kind of hard to follow when listening. When the detecting kicks into high gear, it would be nice to have the chance to reread paragraphs instead of constantly rewinding on the iPod.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful