Author Erik Larson to speak at Bijou Theatre May 13

KNOXVILLE — Friends of the Knox County Public Library and Union Ave Books are excited to welcome author Erik Larson to Knoxville on Monday, May 13. The 7 p.m. event at the Bijou Theatre will celebrate the release of Larson’s latest book, The Demon of Unrest. Tickets are available at Each $40 ticket includes a hardback copy of The Demon of Unrest.

This will be Larson’s third visit to Knoxville. He first visited in March 2016 during the book tour for Dead Wake. His most recent visit to East Tennessee for The Splendid and the Vile was in February 2019, our last author event held before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A master of narrative nonfiction, Larson is the author of six 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 ten million copies. His books have been published in nearly twenty countries.
About the book
The Demon of Unrest offers a gripping account of the five chaotic months between Lincoln’s election and the Confederacy’s shelling of Fort Sumter. Lincoln 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.”

According to publisher Penguin Random House, major characters in the suspense-filled narrative include “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.”