5 Best Erik Larson Books Update 05/2022

Erik Larson Books


Larson is a writer and a journalist who lives in the U.S. He is an expert in writing non-fiction about history. It’s true that more than half of Erik Larson’s books made it into New York Times bestseller lists. If you want to know how many books Larson has written, the answer is eight.

Career and Education

In college, he majored in Russian studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He then went on to get a Master’s degree in journalism from the University of Columbia. It didn’t take long for the American author to start writing for well-known publications like the Wall Street Journal and the Times, which he still sometimes works with.

Best Erik Larson Books

Strict Principles

As a teacher, he has also taught non-fiction writing at a number of places and centers. These include San Francisco State University, John Hopkins Writing Seminars, and Chuckanut Writers Conference in Bellingham. It’s hard for Larson to take “creative liberty” in his work. He does all of the research for the books he writes himself, and he is very strict about this. He likes to stick to the facts, so everything he puts in his story comes from a historical record.


There are stories in history, and Larson knows how to put them there. His books are word soups full of facts that don’t make you sick in the second chapter. The narrative flows so smoothly that even if you aren’t a history fan, you’ll be asking for more history, even if you aren’t a history fan. Without further ado, let’s now find out which Erik Larson books are the best! The top Larson books aren’t in order, chronological order, or anything else. We haven’t put them in any of these ways.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

Critical Time

In the Garden of Beasts is one of Erik Larson’s best books. It tells the story of William Dodd, who was the U.S. Ambassador to Berlin at a very important time when Hitler was just taking power. Before 1937, Dodd and his family saw firsthand what was going on in Germany, which had a big impact on the world.

Blooming Nazi Scene

Martha, the daughter of William, was a showy and wild person at the time. She was going through a divorce at the time. When Martha saw the parties, the power, the faith that Hitler had, and how he was trying to cut unemployment, she was sucked in. She was very good at applying the adage “to get over a man, get under another.” She had several relationships with high-ranking men of the time, including the head of the Gestapo, Rudolf Dies. She was very good at applying this adage.

Troubling Events

When the Ambassador saw how things were going politically in front of them, he started to have doubts about what was going on. The persecution of Jews was getting worse, the censorship in the press was bothering, and Dodd wrote to the State Department back home to protest and oppose the Nazi regime in a very strong way. Most people in the State Department thought this was unprofessional and not very diplomatic.

Chilling Story

In the Garden of Beasts, which refers to the Berlin park Tiergarten, the story of a family of American diplomats who witnessed the rise of the Third Reich and saw Hitler show his true colors is told. This was a pivotal point in modern history. I think it is one of Erik Larson’s best books for many of his fans. It is a very good book.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Last Voyage

Dead Wake is one of the best non-fiction books written by Erik Larson. It is the second book on our Larson book list. There was a British ocean liner called the RMS Lusitania. It was a 787-foot-long, grand ship that was nearing British shores on May 7, 1915, when it was going to make its last New York-Liverpool trip.

When the ship was 11 miles from the coast, the people on board heard an explosion, then another. Almost 1,200 people were killed when the huge ship sank, taking them to the depths of the ocean.

Questions Arise

In addition to the Titanic, the sinking of the Lusitania is one of the most well-known shipwrecks in history. The Lusitania also has political undertones that the Titanic didn’t have. It was not a bad thing that the Lusitania was hit by a German submarine, but it was a mistake. What happened caused many questions with no answers. Larson tries to answer some of them in his book. This is how it works:

There were a lot of reasons for not giving the Lusitania an escort ship, even though it was 1915, Germany and Britain were at war, and Germany had made British waters a war zone.

Retreating Era

U-boot or submarine warfare was a deadly new thing, and the gentleman’s old war etiquette that kept military officials from killing civilians was quickly becoming obsolete. When the German submarine fired only once, what caused the second blast that could be felt on the deck? The rescue ship was called back to the port because it was in trouble.

It’s full of official secrets, political agendas, and a lot of people who don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. The Germans used a clever tactic to turn American public opinion against them quickly, which set the stage for the United States’ entry into World War I to help a weak Great Britain fight the war that was tearing Europe apart.

Mystery Remains

The question, though, is how much of this event can be blamed on a twist of fate and how much on political sleight of hand. In Larson’s book, which is well-researched and well-written, he makes old events come back to life with his unique style of writing and retelling. Not only did Larson write this book, but it has sold well. We think that it might even be the best Erik Larson book to start with, but we’re not sure.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Horrific Events

3: The Devil in the White City is the third book in our Erik Larson book reviews. This is one of Larson’s best-known books. World Expositions have always been fairs that shocked the world. The best and brightest minds show off the results of their hard work. The 1893 Chicago World Fair was no different. It did, however, become the setting for a feat that shocked viewers for its horrifying nature: the series of murders carried out by H.H. Holmes, a man who lived in the city at the time.

Daniel H. Burnham

Daniel H. Burnham is the head architect of the World Fair project, and he has an almost impossible job: make sure the project runs smoothly and is done on time. There was a lot of planning and work done for what would become the “White City,” which was the center of the project.

Perfect Hunting Ground

At the end of the 19th century, the people and chaos in Illinois made it the perfect hunting ground for the evil that was lurking on its streets. Dr. Holmes saw a good deal and built a hotel. It was in the basement of the Hotel that he built a gas chamber, which he planned to use to dispose of the bodies of his hundreds of victims. Because of his good looks and charming personality, there were no red flags.

The Fate of Two Men

Larson manages to bring together the fates of two men who had very different plans for the Chicago World Fair, but that would still have a huge impact on the world event. Without a doubt, one of the best Erik Larson books out there.

Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Force of Nature

Erik Larson wrote Isaac’s Storm, which is the next book on our list. It is one of the best Larson books about Isaac Cline’s experience with the storm that caused chaos in Galveston. September 8th, 1900 was a busy day for the rapidly growing city of Houston, Texas. As the day went on, it would be hit by one of nature’s most powerful forces: a huge category 4 hurricane.

Fateful Day

Larson uses the testimonies of the lucky survivors and modern scientific knowledge about hurricanes to help the reader understand what happened in the South of the United States on that late summer day in 1900. More than 6,000 people were killed by the powerful winds that swept through Galveston.

Cautionary Tale

Isaac’s Storm is a cautionary tale about people who think they are smarter than they are, and how quickly and powerfully Mother Nature can knock them down. A fun fact: Larson’s wife also likes this book a lot. It is one of Larson’s best-selling books as well.


Guglielmo Marconi

Thunderstruck is one of the best books written by Erik Larson, and it’s one of his best. First, we have Guglielmo Marconi, a half-Irish, half-Italian genius who came to England in the late 1800s with a strong desire to show off his new invention: wireless.

In the face of strong opposition from a Liverpool professor who had already shown that electromagnetic waves could be broadcasted from afar, Marconi is having a hard time getting the patent for radio.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

Second, there’s Hawley Harvey Crippen, a weak husband who can’t stand up to his overbearing wife. After years of pretending to be happy at home, Crippen sees a young woman who gives him the love his wife hasn’t shown him in all those years of marriage. Passion and love make Crippen, who is shy and soft-spoken, kill his wife and then flee to England with his mistress.

Hot Pursuit

When Larson tells these two stories together, he demonstrates how radio made it possible to broadcast the hot pursuit of the two fugitives in real time, much to the listener’s macabre delight and to the surprise of the two criminal love-birds. Like in Devil in the White City, Larson draws lines that connect the dots from the past.

Amazing Writing Style

It’s interesting to see how Erik Larson combines facts and stories in his best books and in the three that didn’t make the list. For people who like non-fiction and history, this book is a must-read. It’s especially good for people who have trouble reading traditional historical accounts that focus more on facts than on the story being told. Larson is writing a new book called The Splendid and the Vile that will be out in 2020.

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