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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

 

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Average customer rating based on 30 comments:

BjoLiz, February 25, 2014 (view all comments by BjoLiz)
Having read this book several years ago, I got so much more out of it this time around.  On the first reading, I was absorbed in The Devil and the horrors he inflicted with zero regard for anyone but himself, a true sociopath.  In my 2nd reading, The White City captured my imagination.  What those architects, landscape artists and construction workers accomplished in so short a time was nothing short of miraculous.  I doubt it could be repeated today even with all our modern machinery and technology.  

Now, a brief word about Holmes and his despicable acts.  Although tragic, his significance was of being the first US serial killer.  Not a cherished goal for most of society,  yet I think he eagerly sought that place in history.   His powers of deception were amazing.  His killings and subsequent disposals were simple as well as elaborate.  His heart and mind were certainly of the devil.

Overall, this was a fascinating read.  Just when the tedium of the building of the White City and all the setbacks became overpowering, Larson jolted my interest back with Holmes and his myriad of atrocities.  It is a thoroughly researched and well written book surrounding a brief monumental and significant time in our history.
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BakerB, January 14, 2013 (view all comments by BakerB)
Very interesting read. Full of fascinating history, details of the World's Fair, & Chicago in its heyday, & chilling murder & mystery. Great combo!
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Waney, December 29, 2012 (view all comments by Waney)
I strongly recommend THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY to anyone who enjoys an engrossing, well-written story, whether they normally read fiction or nonfiction. In particular, if readers have a book report in school, this book should be considered. It makes history come alive.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Maggie_S, November 13, 2012 (view all comments by Maggie_S)
A wonderful well researched novel following two seperate events that took place in Chicago in the last years of the 19th century, a serial killer on the loose and the Chicago World's Fair. Very well executed and as accurate as I could find.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Sofi, August 31, 2012 (view all comments by Sofi)
I first heard about this on the "Stuff You Missed in History Class" podcast - and the book did not disappoint! The story of the World's Fair would have been compelling on its own - combined with the bizarre life of H.H. Holmes, it was hard to put down. A fascinating episode in America's history!!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375725609
Subtitle:
Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
Author:
Larson, Erik
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Location:
New York
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
United States - 19th Century/Turn of the Century
Subject:
Serial murders
Subject:
Serial murderers
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Midwest
Subject:
Murder - Serial Killers
Subject:
World History-General
Subject:
Pathological Psychology
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st paperback ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Series Volume:
34/2003
Publication Date:
February 10, 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.26 lb

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History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » US History » 1800 to 1945
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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
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Product details 464 pages Vintage Books - English 9780375725609 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

An amazing history that recounts the inconceivable events surrounding the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, Larson's tale captures a time and place that vividly come to life. The central characters in this tale are Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the construction of the fair, and H. H. Holmes, a serial killer who used the popularity of the fair for his own nefarious ends. Burnham's work at overcoming the insurmountable obstacles before completing this awe inspiring project is interwoven with chapters relating to the maniacal Holmes, whose person will keep you both captivated and haunted. Breathtakingly written, this almost unbelievable history reads like the work of a highly inventive novelist.

"Staff Pick" by ,

"I was mesmerized by this book. It was a deliciously creepy read, made more creepy for being true. Several times in the course of reading it, I had to keep reminding myself that the events really happened."

"Review A Day" by , "You've got to respect a book that makes you keep flipping to the back cover, double-checking that it is nonfiction. Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City seems like something from the mind of, say, Thomas Harris. But it is, in fact, true. A gruesome and gripping book....[T]he heart of the story is so good, you find yourself asking how you could not know this already." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "Engrossing...exceedingly well documented...utterly fascinating."
"Review" by , "A wonderfully unexpected book....Larson is a historian...with a novelist's soul."
"Review" by , "Another successful exploration of American history....Larson skillfully balances the grisly details with the far-reaching implications of the World's Fair."
"Review" by , "Vivid history of the glittering Chicago World?s Fair and its dark side."
"Review" by , "[Larson] uses language well, but has little sense of pacing or focus, perhaps because of the huge amount of material available on the fair....There is much less material available on H. H. Holmes, and Larson tells that part of the story economically."
"Synopsis" by , The story of two men's obsessions with the Chicago World's Fair — one its architect, the other a murderer. 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.
"Synopsis" by , The story of two men's obsessions with the White City Fair, one its architect, the other a murderer.
"Synopsis" by , Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.
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