Erik Larson is the author of several books, including The Devil in the White City. His latest is Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.

"I realized then and there, that afternoon: the thing that was going to make this interesting was the juxtaposition of light and dark, good and evil. This monument to civic goodwill versus this monument to the dark side of human nature. ... But that was really hard to pull off. And, frankly, on the eve of publication I was pretty convinced my career was over. I'd violated every single concept of good narrative."

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