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Erik Larson, "The Demon of Unrest"

America on the Brink: An Evening with Erik Larson

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Join us for a fascinating evening with Erik Larson as he unveils the gripping tale of pre-Civil War tensions in The Demon of Unrest. Learn about the chaotic months between Lincoln's election and the shelling of Fort Sumter, exploring the personal struggles and political intrigue that pushed America to the brink of division.


The Demon of Unrest book cover

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Splendid and the Vile brings to life the pivotal five months between the election of Abraham Lincoln and the start of the Civil War—a slow-burning crisis that finally tore a deeply divided nation in two.

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 both. 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 is the author of six national bestsellers—The Splendid and the Vile, Dead Wake, In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac's Storm—which have collectively sold more than twelve million copies. His books have been published in nearly forty countries.

Erik Larson

Ticket includes:

  • admission for one attendee
  • one copy of The Demon of Unrest

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Can’t make it to the event? Purchase a signed copy of The Demon of Unrest.


CHECK OUT ERIK LARSON ON CBS SUNDAY MORNING


Event Date: 
Thursday, May 23, 2024 - 7:00pm EDT
Event address: 
Clinton Town Hall
54 E Main St
Clinton, CT 06413
The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War By Erik Larson Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780385348744
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Crown - April 30th, 2024

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The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz By Erik Larson Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780385348737
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Crown - February 15th, 2022

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania By Erik Larson Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780307408877
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Crown - March 22nd, 2016

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin By Erik Larson Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780307408853
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Crown - May 1st, 2012

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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America By Erik Larson Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780375725609
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Vintage - February 10th, 2004