Erik Larson, a contributor to Time magazine, is the author of two previous books, Lethal Passage (Crown, 1994) and The Naked Consumer (Henry Holt, 1992). In one of his past lives, Larson wrote quirky features and major investigative reports for the Wall Street Journal, including -- when he was still single -- a front-page story about a video-dating service, which got him 500 letters, a girlfriend, and a couple of marriage proposals. He has written for a variety of national magazines, including Harper's and Atlantic Monthly. His research for The Naked Consumer became the subject of a NOVA documentary, We Know Where You Live.
Larson grew up in Freeport, Long Island in the peak hurricane years of the late 1950s and 1960s, surviving one major hurricane and a few smaller ones -- if only barely, given his passion for swimming at Jones Beach right before and after each storm. He adores thunderstorms, high wind, excessive rain, deep fog, and extreme cold.
In the years since his departure from Long Island, he has lived in Bristol, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, San Francisco (twice), Baltimore (twice), and, finally, Seattle, where he finds that the weather just exactly suits his bleak Scandinavian outlook and where his kids actually complain that there isn't enough rain. He studied Russian history at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated summa cum laude in 1976. A
fter a year off, in which he made the mistake of seeing the movie All the President's Men, he attended the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, graduating in 1978. His first newspaper job was with The Bucks County Courier Times in Levittown, Pennsylvania, where he wrote about murder, witches, environmental poisons, and other equally pleasant things.
He has taught nonFiction writing at San Francisco State University and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and has spoken to audiences from coast to coast. He lives in Seattle with his wife, three daughters, three guinea pigs, and a goldfish named Joey.