Non-Fiction that Reads Like Fiction: Erik Larson

Interested in trying a non-fiction read, I suggest bestselling author, Erik Larson. His narrative nonfiction vividly tells very compelling stories and reads like fiction. Larson writes at a suspenseful pace, turns key figures into fascinating characters and makes history to gripping thriller.

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

devil in the white cityTwo men, each handsome and unusually adept at his work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. Daniel Hudson Burnham, a renowned architect, was the brilliant director of works for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor, was the satanic murderer of scores of young women in a torture palace built for the purpose near the fairgrounds. Burnham overcame great obstacles to build his White City; Holmes used the attraction to lure women to their deaths.

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

isaacs stormSeptember 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau, failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged by a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over 6,000 people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history-and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devastating personal tragedy. Using Cline’s own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the science of hurricanes, Erik Larson builds a chronicle of one man’s heroic struggle and fatal miscalculation in the face of a storm of unimaginable magnitude. Thrilling, powerful, and unrelentingly suspenseful, Isaac’s Storm is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the uncontrollable force of nature.

Thunderstruck

thunderstruckTells the interwoven stories of two men–Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication–whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time. Set in Edwardian London, an era of séances, science, and fog, and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners, scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed, and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect crime.

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

in the garden of beastsA remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. Gives the reader a true sense of how Hitler and Nazism were able to survive before the world know their true nature.

(All annotations from the publishers.)

– posted by Betty, Reference Services

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