The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
The Devil in the White City Murder Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America Author:Erik Larson The 1893 Chicago World's Fair is the setting for this true account of two very different men: the celebrated architect Daniel H. Burnham who designed and supervised the construction of the "White City" around which the fair was built, and H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett), a fiendishly clever serial killer posing as a doctor who murdered... more » scores of people, mostly young women, in his World's Fair Hotel, which contained a gas chamber and a handy crematorium for disposing of his victims. Telling their entwined stories in alternating points of view, Erik Larson illuminates the lives of these two men, but provides insightful commentary on the changes that were taking place in American society that allowed both phenomena--a grandiose World's Fair and a string of unsolved murders--to take place. The book contains cameo appearances by such late-19th-century celebrities as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison.« less
Jean G. (gianna) reviewed The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America on
Helpful Score: 39
I requested this book because I was intrigued by the fact that it had received 70+ essentially positive reviews! I don't think I have ever seen that before!
This was a good read. The information about the Fair was fascinating. I was glad to be spared the horrid details of the serial murders. The book was very well written, not sensationalistic and truly interesting.
I am re-listing so someone else can enoy.
Kerry reviewed The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America on
Helpful Score: 25
History with suspense of a murder mystery. Larson ties events surrounding early 1890's Chicago World's Fair in to a non-fiction page turner. The story will remain with you long after book goes to a dusty corner of your bookshelf. Highly recommended.
Erik Larson has been able to take historical events and mold a very readable non-fiction book. It looks into the events of the Chicago's World's Fair by telling the story of two masterminds. One a mastermind of architecture and the world's fair and another a mastermind of using charm and murder. Although I am usually interested in history books, I did enjoy as well as appreciate this book and in the end still can not believe the events in this book are real and factual at times and have to remind myself that this was not a novel.
I thought the book seemed interesting,from the synopsis on the best sellers list - I like a good "true story". This book mixes history, with a few madmen moving in tandem through the book. Slow to get moving, but by the middle of the book - I had to know how it all ended and stayed up way too late to finish!
I did it!! I finished it! I have so many mixed emotions about this one. It was tedious and hard to get into. But the ending made itworth it. I learned some new trivia:
1. Frank Floyd Wright was fired from one of the leading architect for designing homes for rich while he was helping come up with designs for the World Fair in Chicago.
2. One of the Architects that helped design the fair, perished on the Titanic.
3. Walt Disney's father worked for an engineering firm that worked on the fair. His stories about working on the fair, inspired Magic Kingdom.
4. The Wonderful World of OZ was inspired by the hydrogen balloon that was an attraction.
I am so glad that I forced myself to finish it. I definitely want to see the movie. Also I on the lookout for the biography of H. H. Holmes. I want to read about his mind and how he was one of the first people to be called a psychopath. Overall, this book was 3 out 5 stars.
Parallel stories from the same moment in time. The development of the World's Fair of Chicago, and the murderer who rocked the Midwest with his murder complex are switched between every couple of chapters keeping you in the moment with the splendor of the fair, and the evil just out side of town.
Basically two non-fictional stories... the 1893 Chicago World's Fair from conception to completion and the unbelievable story of a physician mass murderer during this time period. The thread in common is Chicago. A good read - provides a lot of background of life at the end of the 19th century.