Saturday, March 28, 2015


Writer Erik Larson has the distinction of being one of the most popular and bestselling non-fiction authors.  Able to pick fascinating and obscure historical topics and bring them to life, his books read like novels. Influenced by the work of Raymond Chandler, Larson’s books are suspenseful and engaging. Larson began his career as a journalist and his attention to research and accuracy may have sprung from his reporting days. Don’t miss his exciting books found on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library. 

One hundred years ago the British ocean liner Lusitania left New York on a voyage to England, but it was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine. When the ship sank more than 1,200 people died, including many Americans. The rallying cry of “Remember the Lusitania” encouraged America to enter World War I. Erik Larson’s new book Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is an investigation of exactly what happened, including a look at the personalities and politics involved. Attempting to unravel some of the mysteries of the Lusitania, Larson has written a dramatic and compelling book.

A favorite of book groups is Larson’s The Devil in the White City. Set in Chicago at the 1893 World’s Fair this is a history that simultaneously focuses on two personalities, the architect who designed the fair grounds and a serial murderer who lured his victims to their deaths. The story of the fair and its amazing buildings offer a background and a respite from the bloodcurdling cunning of the murderer. Masterfully told, this is a book that will keep you up into the wee hours.

Who remembers the name of the American ambassador to Germany during the rise of Nazism? With In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin Larson tells the story of William Dodd and his family who arrive in Germany little prepared to understand or confront the unraveling terror and or to persuade Americans about the threats that the Nazis imposed. The portraits of family members and of Nazi members are particularly mesmerizing and the political issues are related in an easily understood way.

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