The Technologists

The Technologists

by Matthew Pearl
3.7 36

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The Technologists: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Dr. Karen Hutchins Pirnot for Readers Favorite In The Technologists, author Matthew Pearl has brilliantly portrayed the first precarious years in the development and survival of the Massachesetts Institute of Technology. It is 1868, and MIT is to graduate its first class. And then, frightening things begin to happen in the city of Boston, events which threaten to jeopardize the credibility of the MIT students as well as the very institution itself. There is conflict between Harvard and MIT, and sabotage is suspected. When people are injured and others die, four potential graduates decide to take matters into their own hands. Bob, Hammie, Eddy and "charity student" Marcus team up with the first female MIT student, Ellen, to try to solve the mysteries which threaten their very existence as well as the reputation of MIT. The chapters are brilliantly sculptured into the original teaching areas of MIT, and each section reveals itself to be critical to the uncovering of clues and the eventual solution of the mystery. President Rogers, the founder of MIT, is revered by the students, and when he falls ill, his banner is taken up by his loyal students. They go forth with a firm resolve to clear the name of MIT and to show the world that the institution is a valid and superior place of learning. Matthew Pearl carefully develops his characters such that the reader can begin to visualize who might falter and who will prevail. He skillfully weaves in clues without giving away the mystery, and he makes the reader want to become part of the class of 1868 to fight for the survival of a university which has since become a force within the academic world.
JGolomb More than 1 year ago
Matthew Pearl's "The Technologists" is a historical mystery set in post-Civil War Boston. Pearl does a magnificent job of recreating a 19th century Boston that I can only compare to the New York City of Caleb Carr's "The Alienist". The book is sort of a CSI-Boston (1800's).a cast of strong characters sleuth a series of attacks on the city and use science to uncover a growing plot. Pearl centers his mystery on a few members of the first-ever graduating class of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT's creation comes at a time when the country is feeling the impact of the Industrial Age. Factories and their smokestacks dot the Boston landscape. Heavy machinery is being operated by the uneducated masses. A generalized fear creeps across the city - the fear of technology, of what it can do, of what it means. In this context reside two schools: the well-established, respected, and religiously-based institution that is Harvard; across the river in a partially filled building is the upstart and technology-focused MIT. Not only does this new school focus exclusively on the scientific arts, but they provide scholarships to the underprivileged, and they have a female student on their rolls. And so the themes of technological emergence, and class and gender equality combine with a wonderfully evocative 19th century Boston to provide the backdrop of this terrific piece of historical fiction. The core plot revolves around two inexplicable attacks on the city itself. The first occurs in the Boston harbor one foggy evening. Navigational compasses go awry on dozens of ships which leads to mayhem and destruction. The next week, all of the windows on the buildings in the financial district of the city literally melt away. The people of Boston are frightened. In a world where science and magic are virtually indistinguishable, MIT staff and students worry that the finger of blame will be pointed in their direction. Four students band together to uncover the cause of these accidents and prevent any further attacks. Modeling themselves after Harvard's secret student society, they call themselves The Technologists. The story hums along at a pretty good pace, despite the character and relationship-heavy middle third of the book. Pearl has developed a very good piece of fiction, with enough depth to push this above standard fictional fare. I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine program.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
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. 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. The Tech­nol­o­gists by Matthew Pearl 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 the
twigtip More than 1 year ago
"The Technologists" offers an interesting look at post-Civil War Boston and the earty years of MIT, but as a "thriller" it isn't very thrilling. Pearl nails the Harvard-MIT rivalry on the head (I went to MIT in the 50s), but the plot is tedious and unfocused and the characters needlessly stereotypical. The "Technologists" of the title feel like a blend of the Tom Swift novels and the Our Gang films. I read and enjoyed "The Dante Club." This book disappointed.
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goodread More than 1 year ago
I found out about The Technologists from a favorable review, I read, in the Sunday NY Times Book Review. I was very pleased with the book. It was a page turner and the ending was satisfying. The book deals with students in the first senior class from MIT and how the school has to fight with Harvard to prove it was a legitimate university. The book is a novel and deals with mysterious physical catastrophes occurring and how the students, using the skills learned at MIT, solved the mysteries. I ordered another book, on Nook by Matthew Pearl to see if this author was a 'one book wonder'. I haven't read it yet because I rotate the types of books I read. But I recommend you give The Technologists a chance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the concept enticing since I graduate degrees in physics and I really enjoyed Pearl's Dante Club. This was not the same caliber. It was disjointed and tended to ramble and frankly the dialog, of which most the story depends, is rushed and cartoonish. It is as if he did not know what kind of story to write. There is a love interest that was not needed and in the end it did nothing to help the story and actually detracted from the plot. There were twists in the plot that were not fully exploited and were often resolved as quickly as they arose. Just sloppy writing or lack of a strong editor to guide the writer who is indeed talented, but now seems to want to follow a formula. I think that the meticulous work on the research for the book took all of the time and then it was a rush to just get it over with. This could make for an entertaining movie of the National Treasure variety after some cuts and coherency.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vermonter17032 More than 1 year ago
I'm torn between giving this book a "good" or "very good" rating -- so I settled on the latter. I enjoyed the characters and the setting in post Civil War Boston. The idea of the first class of MIT students investigating a mystery is intriguing. Too often, however, the characters behavior conforms more to the convenience of the plot than of genuine motivation. And the plot twists seem to have come from a Hardy Boys novel. Still, I was entertained and compelled to keep reading, and that's the bottom line. Hence the "very good" rating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasn't sure I would enjoy all the above-my-pay-grade science, but Pearl has crafted a very interesting and accessible story, especially if you are interested in the history of American education.
PeteAS More than 1 year ago
Matthew Pearl has again done a masterful job in delving into history. This book is a fictionalized version of the early beginnings an trials that occurred in the development of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the problems from Harvard and the admission of women. A thoroughly interesting work.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having read The Dante Club, The Last Dickens, etc., I was already a fan of Pearl's historical fiction work, but he has taken his character development to entirely new levels in this latest effort. The other works were good reads, but left me wanting something more from the characters, to bring them off the page...he has accomplished that goal with The Technologists! His blending of the history of the founding of MIT with a first rate mystery plot really takes his work in a new direction, I look forward to future page turners!
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GreenEyedReader More than 1 year ago
FIRST YEAR OF MIT HISTORICAL MYSTERY The Technologists is about the first graduating class of MIT and the predjudice society felt for this type of institution along with a series of disasters inflicted upon the city of Boston by an unknown person. The MIT students, mostly male along with the first female student enrolled there, set out to figure out who is committing these awful acts against the city to prove it isn't them, the science that they are studying and therefore the institution of MIT that is to blame. This story is a filled with scientific facts. It was a little slow in the plot, but there is a lot of information to get through. The main characters are well developed. It was interesting to see how the first female student among all the men was treated( I believe this was a true story line). It turned out to be better than I thought it would be .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago