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.
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.