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The Devil in the White City
The Devil in the White City
Author: Erik Larson
Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780385602051
ISBN-10: 0385602057
Publication Date: 4/4/2003
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.

4.3 stars, based on 6 ratings
Publisher: Transworld Pub
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 3
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

BaileysBooks avatar reviewed The Devil in the White City on + 491 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was my first introduction to Erik Larson. Needless to say, I became an immediate fan.

This book follows what I have come to recognize as trademark Larson: he takes two real life (and seemingly unrelated) characters and weaves them seamlessly into the same overarching story. In this case, he combines architect Daniel H. Burnham and serial killer H. H. Holmes. Then he places them squarely into the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.

This book was incredibly well written, thoroughly researched, and fun to read. It was equally educational, historical, and creepy. Burnham should be admired for his accomplishments. Holmes was flat out disturbing.

This book fell right into my wheelhouse: late 1800s, murder mystery, just the right amount of historical information, great character building, and solid story telling. I highly recommend it.
perryfran avatar reviewed The Devil in the White City on + 1159 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a fascinating read! The book told the story of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 (called the White City) and the sordid story of the serial killer who used it as an opportunity. Both stories are interesting and made this a real page-turner. The main story was about the World's Fair and its construction, setbacks, etc. So many "new" things came out of this fair including the use of alternating electric current, the Ferris Wheel (built to rival the Eiffel Tower in Paris), Cracker Jacks, Shredded Wheat, Columbus Day, etc. Walt Disney's father, Elias, helped build the White City -- Disney's Magic Kingdom may well be a descendent. The discriptions of the magnitude of the fair makes me wish I could have been there. Then there was the story of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer that used the fair to lure victims to his horrific hotel called "The Castle." Holmes may have killed as many as 200 people, mostly young unsuspecting women. What motivated Holmes is a mystery, but he is considered one of America's earliest serial killers. Holmes is mentioned in Caleb Carr's excellent novel, "The Alienist". Overall, I would highly recommend this book.
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reviewed The Devil in the White City on + 3 more book reviews
History comes to life. Astonishingly well researched and detailed recounting of the turn-of-the (last) century Chicago Worlds Fair. Readers of Thunderstruck will find the format familiar, and no less interesting. Great read.
wendysareader avatar reviewed The Devil in the White City on + 20 more book reviews
This is an incredible book re the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago. A virtual who's who of the time. A serial killer is on the loose in the midst of the planning and building of the World's Fair and no one seems to notice! The author managed to pull all the characters together using notes, articles, letters, etc from the times and did a wonderful job doing it. Loved it!