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Ranking Author Erik Larson’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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“What are Erik Larson’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Larson’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Erik Larson and looked at his Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page. We will update the article if/when a new book by Erik Larson is released. Although it probably won’t be immediate so the scores on each site have time to settle and aren’t overly influenced by the early, usually much more opinionated, users.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of Erik Larson



7 ) Lethal Passage: How the Travels of a Single Handgun Expose the Roots of America’s Gun Crisis

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 6

This devastating book illuminates America’s gun culture — its manufacturers, dealers, buffs, and propagandists — but also offers concrete solutions to our national epidemic of death by firearm. It begins with an account of a crime that is by now almost commonplace: on December 16, 1988, sixteen-year-old Nicholas Elliot walked into his Virginia high school with a Cobray M-11/9 and several hundred rounds of ammunition tucked in his backpack. By day’s end, he had killed one teacher and severely wounded another.

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6 ) Thunderstruck

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 5

“In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells 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 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 murder.”

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5 ) The Naked Consumer: How Our Private Lives Become Public Commodities

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 7

“After receiving a sudden surge of junk mail directed at new parents—even though his wife at the time was merely pregnant— Erik Larson, the National Bestselling author, set out to explore the lengths companies go to spy on individual consumers.

Posing as a CEO of a fictitious direct-mail corporation, Larson infiltrated companies that gather and sell personal information to assist businesses in their marketing campaigns. He discovered the systems used to gather personal data, the staggering amount of personal information companies can gather, and the government’s role in helping companies learn about you.”

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

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 4

“The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.

But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

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

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 3

Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

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

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 2

“At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era’s new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, “”an absurd delusion.”” It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf.

That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not.”

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1 ) Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 1

“On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.”

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Erik Larson’s Best Books



Erik Larson Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania 111 1
Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History 232 2
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America 343 3
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin 444 4
The Naked Consumer: How Our Private Lives Become Public Commodities 517 5
Thunderstruck 665 6
Lethal Passage: How the Travels of a Single Handgun Expose the Roots of America’s Gun Crisis 776 7