A few authors are great at non-fiction writing; one such author I can remember is Erik Larson. Erik is the New York Times bestselling author and one of the best narrative non-fiction writers. The writer not only specializes in non-fiction but has also tried his hands in fiction.
I will be dedicating this article to the complete list of Erik Larson’s books in order and also describe a bit about the author. If you are a nonfiction reader or are curious about the author, then this article is for you.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Who is Erik Larson?
Erik Larson was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 3, 1954. He completed his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania and received his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
He started his career as an editorial assistant and, after completing his master’s, got his first journalism job at Bucks County Courier Times in Levittown, Pennsylvania.
Later, he got married and moved to Baltimore, where he wrote a few unpublished novels as well as did freelance jobs. During this time, he wrote his first novel, The Naked Consumer. Since then, the author has published a few more books, among which six became the New York Times Bestsellers.
Erik Larson is the master of writing narrative non-fiction. He now lives in Manhattan with his wife and has three grown-up daughters living in different locations.
Erik Larson’s Books In Order
|Sr. No||Title||Publication Date||Print Length||Publisher||Where to Buy|
|1||The Naked Consumer||February 1, 1994||288 pages||Penguin Books||Amazon|
|2||Lethal Passage||January 25, 1994||272 pages||Crown||Amazon|
|3||Isaac’s Storm||August 24, 1999||336 pages||Crown||Amazon|
|4||The Devil In The White City||February 11, 2003||447 pages||Crown||Amazon|
|5||Thunderstruck||October 24, 2006||480 pages||Crown||Amazon|
|6||In The Garden of Beasts ||May 10, 2011||464 pages||Crown||Amazon|
|7||Dead Wake||March 10, 2015||430 pages||Crown Publishers||Amazon|
|8||The Splendid And The Vile||February 25, 2020||608 pages||Crown||Amazon|
|9||No One Goes Alone||September 28, 2021||Random House Audio||Amazon|
Non-Fiction Books in Publication Order
Erik has written a total of 9 narrative non-fiction so far, and few of them have become the New York Times Bestsellers. I will be listing the books in their publication order below for you to check out. I will also briefly describe all the novels to give you an overview.
The author writes standalone nonfiction books so they can be read individually. Have a look at the list!
- The Naked Consumer (1992)
- Lethal Passage (1994)
- Isaac’s Storm (1999)
- The Devil In The White City (2003)
- Thunderstruck (2006)
- In The Garden Of Beasts (2011)
- Dead Wake (2015)
- The Splendid And The Vile (2020)
Here, I will be writing short descriptions of each book. You can look into this section to choose the book that interests you the most.
1. The Naked Consumer
The Naked Consumer is the first novel written by Erik Larson and was published in 1992. Although this book didn’t become a hit like the other ones, he personally claims to love this novel.
The book highlights the conspiracy related to how companies spy and extract the personal information of consumers for marketing campaigns. The author wrote this book after receiving a lot of junk mail directed at to-be parents.
In the book, Larson, the character of the book, infiltrates the organizations that gather and sell data of consumers along with the specific systems used to do so. He also talks about how the government helps in this process of collecting personal information.
2. Lethal Passage
Lethal Passage is one such book by Erik Larson which focuses on the gun culture of America. It is a nonfiction book that is inspired by a true incident.
It tells us how easy it was for a sixteen-year-old boy named Nicholas Elliot to be able to buy guns and other weapons. The boy enters Virginia High School carrying all these weapons inside his backpack, kills a teacher, and hurts several others on the school premises.
Erik highlights the facts and laws regarding the issues in the book and also points out the solutions.
3. Isaac’s Storm
This book talks about the monster of a hurricane that hit the town of Galveston, Texas, on September 8, 1900. The author has illustrated the destruction due to the deadly storm that killed over six thousand people. It discusses the efforts of men in predicting the weather during that era and how one wrong interpretation leads to disastrous results.
Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist’s letters, telegrams, reports, and the testimony of survivors are used to narrate the story. Erik has beautifully described the destructive impacts when mother nature becomes out of control.
4. The Devil In The White City
Erik wrote this book by focusing on the events of the Chicago World Fair in 1893, where two different stories of two men are narrated. The book tells the story of Daniel H. Burnham, the architect hired for the design and construction of the fair, and of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer disguised as a doctor.
Daniel H. Burnham’s efforts and obstacles to build The White City, its success, and much more are incorporated into the story. On the other hand, the murders during the fair, for which Dr. Holmes was believed to be responsible, are also demonstrated in the book.
The author has skillfully written the two stories alternatively, delivering a book with both good and dark incidents.
Erik narrates the interwoven cases of two men, both stories connecting together for an epic ending. The book is based on the case of the murderer, Hawley Crippen, and the scientist, Guglielmo Marconi, who first invented wireless telegraphy.
Hawley Crippen was described as a kind man who later turned out to be a killer. Marconi’s invention of the wireless was the reason Hawley was caught when he was trying to flee after committing the crime. It is a gripping and suspenseful story delivered by the author.
6. In The Garden of Beasts
This book discusses the time of 1933 when William E. Dodd became the ambassador of Germany. Dodd was a professor in Chicago when he was offered the position, and he agreed and moved to Berlin with his wife and two grown children.
The story demonstrates the time of Nazi violence and the rise of Hitler. It also has romantic aspects of the ambassador’s daughter, Martha. She is a modern woman who has a lot of affairs with the men of Germany. Overall, the book discusses various elements of that time and how things unfolded, resulting in a turning point in history.
7. Dead Wake
Dead Wake is a book based on the tragic incident of May 1, 1915, where Lusitania, one of the transatlantic Greyhounds, has sailed out of New York carrying women, men, and children toward Liverpool when the tragedy strikes and destroys everything.
It was a time of war, and passengers were scared. Germany, with its Unterseeboot-20, was heading toward Liverpool. One of the British intelligence units tracked the U-20 but did not inform anyone, resulting in a disaster of war between the passenger ship and the German submarine.
8. The Splendid And The Vile
This story is about Winston Churchill and his role as a Prime minister. It is a kind of memoir of Winston’s first year as Britain’s Prime Minister during World War II. The book demonstrates the bombing, attacks, deaths, and much more. Winston was a brilliant orator, and he held the country with hope and courage to survive this terror.
We are also introduced to the President’s family and his bonding with each of them. Erik has incredibly narrated the day-to-day occurrences and how people survived those dark times.
Finally, Erik Larson dived into the world of fiction by publishing his standalone book. So far, he has released only one book in this category. I will mention the name along with a brief description of the book.
Brief Description of “No One Goes Alone”.
This is the first published fiction writing of Erik Larson, only available as an audiobook.
When a family of four vanishes during their weeklong holiday on the Isle of Dorn, a group of researchers led by Professor William James sets sail in the North Atlantic in 1905 to investigate the disappearances. After arriving, they start exploring the cottages and other landscapes for any clues.
With risks and unexpected discoveries, the quest turns into something ghostly and dark. Erik has delivered a story filled with suspense and terror to keep the listeners engaged throughout.
This best-selling author has delivered some great nonfiction books, and readers should definitely give his books a try. I hope this article was helpful for you to pick the best one among the lot for your next read.
If you have read any of the author’s books, then tell me your views in the comments. I will be happy to read!