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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America Cover

ISBN13: 9780385602730
ISBN10: 0385602731
Condition: Standard
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Awards

2004 Edgar Award Winner for Best Fact Crime
2003 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his "World's Fair Hotel" just west of the fairgrounds — a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.

Erik Larson's gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

Review:

"A dynamic, enveloping book....Relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramtic effect of a novel....It doesn't hurt that this truth is stranger than fiction." The New York Times

About the Author

Erik Larson lives in Seattle with his wife, three daughters, a Chinese fighting fish, a dwarf hamster, and a golden retriever named Molly.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Margareto, September 26, 2010 (view all comments by Margareto)
Kind of a story about a crazy serial killer who was operating in Chicago during the World’s Fair in 1893, I think. The best parts in the whole book concerned trying to organize all of the diverse aspects to create the most amazing fair in the world.
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(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Margareto, September 26, 2010 (view all comments by Margareto)
Kind of a story about a crazy serial killer who was operating in Chicago during the World’s Fair in 1893, I think. The best parts in the whole book concerned trying to organize all of the diverse aspects to create the most amazing fair in the world.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
christijensen, October 19, 2006 (view all comments by christijensen)
This book is scary and facinating. It reads like a novel, but it's all true. Read it twice and I'll read it again. Especially interesting for Chicago residents because the main character built many structures that that still stand today.
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(18 of 34 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385602730
Author:
Erik Larson
Publisher:
RANDOM HOUSE TRADE
Binding:
TRADE PAPER

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Midwest
History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America Used Trade Paper
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Product details pages RANDOM HOUSE TRADE - English 9780385602730 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A dynamic, enveloping book....Relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramtic effect of a novel....It doesn't hurt that this truth is stranger than fiction."
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