Skip Navigation

Erik Larson: "The Demon of Unrest"

**THIS PROGRAM IS SOLD OUT** 

On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the fluky victor in a tight race for president. The country was bitterly at odds; Southern extremists were moving ever closer to destroying the Union, with one state after another seceding and Lincoln powerless to stop them. Slavery fueled the conflict, but somehow the passions of North and South came to focus on a lonely federal fortress in Charleston Harbor: Fort Sumter.

Master storyteller Erik Larson offers a gripping account of the chaotic months between Lincoln’s election and the Confederacy’s shelling of Sumter—a period marked by tragic errors and miscommunications, enflamed egos and craven ambitions, personal tragedies and betrayals. Lincoln himself wrote that the trials of these five months were “so great that, could I have anticipated them, I would not have believed it possible to survive them.”

At the heart of this suspense-filled narrative are Major Robert Anderson, Sumter’s commander and a former slave owner sympathetic to the South but loyal to the Union; Edmund Ruffin, a vain and bloodthirsty radical who stirs secessionist ardor at every opportunity; and Mary Boykin Chesnut, wife of a prominent planter, conflicted over both marriage and slavery and seeing parallels between them. In the middle of it all is the overwhelmed Lincoln, battling with his duplicitous secretary of state, William Seward, as he tries desperately to avert a war that he fears is inevitable—one that will eventually kill 750,000 Americans.

Drawing on diaries, secret communiques, slave ledgers, and plantation records, Larson gives us a political horror story that captures the forces that led America to the brink—a dark reminder that we often don’t see a cataclysm coming until it’s too late.

Erik Larson will be joined in conversation by Tom Hall, host of WYPR's Midday

About the Author: 

Erik Larson is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, most recently The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, which examines how Winston Churchill and his “Secret Circle” went about surviving the German air campaign of 1940-41. Erik’s The Devil in the White City is in development at Disney Studios, and In the Garden of Beasts is in development with StudioCanal and Playtone. He recently published an audio-original ghost story, No One Goes Alone, which is in development with Chernin Entertainment.

About the Moderator: 

Tom Hall is the host of WYPR's Midday (Monday-Friday from noon-1p), the highly rated news and public policy program that features interviews with elected officials, community leaders, as well as thought provoking authors, artists, researchers, journalists, and scholars from around the world.

Program Information: 

  • THIS PROGRAM IS SOLD OUT
  • Doors will open to registered attendees at 6 pm. 
  • Seating for registered attendees in Central Hall is first come, first served. 
  • All registered in-person attendees will receive a free copy of the book. 
  • There will not be a book signing following the program. 
  • Free parking vouchers are available to program attendees who park at the Franklin Street Garage (15 W. Franklin Street) after 4pm.  Ask Pratt event staff for your parking voucher prior to or after the program. 

Thursday, May 2 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Central Library, Central Hall
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Event Type

Writers LIVE!

Age Group

Adults

Compass Category

Writers LIVE at the Library

Event Publisher

Cleve Corner, Manager of Speaker & Author Engagement

Digital Signage

Highlight

Tags

tickets required

Subscribe
Google Calendar iCal Outlook

Recent Activity

You're not going yet!

This event requires registration.