Author: Erik Larson

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WWII Fiction/Nonfiction Trio

July 9, 2020 Uncategorized 8 ★★★★

WWII Fiction/Nonfiction TrioTitle: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
Author: Erik Larson
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

As Larson himself notes in the intro to The Splendid and the Vile, a lot has been written on Churchill already. Do we really need more? Maybe not, but if Eric Larson is the one doing the writing, I definitely want more. This look at a year in the life of Churchill and his family was exactly what I expect from Larson. The writing was engaging and included lots of dialogue, all from well cited, primary sources. The text itself is almost completely without citations, including for claims about motivations that I considered quite important. The story seamlessly weaves together intimate personal stories and global, historical events. I thought the personal elements were the strongest yet in any of his books though. Spending just over 500 pages on a single year meant we could really get to know people. As a result, this just edges out Devil in the White City as my favorite of Larson’s books. Read more »

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Narrative Nonfiction in Mini-Reviews

July 3, 2018 Uncategorized 19 ★★★★

Narrative Nonfiction in Mini-ReviewsTitle: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Author: Erik Larson
|Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Like Devil in the White City, this was delightfully engaging. It was also extremely creepy to read about how people denied, minimized, or justified atrocities happening in pre-WWII Germany. It was heartbreaking to think how many lives could have been saved had people taken Hitler more seriously earlier. This personal perspective on Germany shortly before WWII was also fascinating for its novelty. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Devil in the White City though. Part of that could be that this was exactly what I expected, instead of a pleasant surprise, since it wasn’t my first book by Larson. It could also be because I never felt like our main characters needed to fear for their lives, so there was less suspense than in the serial killer story of Devil in the White City. I’m not sure, but this was at least close to as good as White City and I’d definitely recommend it. Read more »

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