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The Devil in the White City

Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
Larson, Erik (Book - 2004 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Devil in the White City

Item Details

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.
Authors: Larson, Erik, 1954-
Title: The devil in the white city
murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America
Publisher: New York :, Vintage Books,, 2004, c2003
Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed
Characteristics: xi, 447 p. :,ill., maps ;,21 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Erik Larson
Contents: Aboard the Olympic
Frozen music
Awful fight
In the white city
Cruelty revealed
Last crossing
Notes and sources
Illustration credits
ISBN: 0375725601
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 L334d 2004
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Report This Mar 15, 2014
  • weali rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Only about a fifth of this book is about H. H. Holmes. The rest is about the World Fair--it's a good book unless you're looking for a true crime...

Report This Jan 24, 2014
  • sine_wave rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Fantastic Book. Read this a couple years ago on the plane to Edmonton. You will not be disappointed.

Report This Jan 11, 2014
  • JackieFC13 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was wonderful. My cousin recommended I read it. I had gotten it at a Barnes and Noble where it was buy 2 get the 3rd free and the back sounded interesting. My Aunt also backed it so I picked it up as soon as I finished what I was on. It took a little while to get used to the writing style as he writes as a historian. He gives factual and quoted backgrounds of his characters which is what made it so interesting. There are quotes from individuals and newspapers about his people. I loved that this book actually happened, maybe not all of it but the history is there and it is absolutely fascinating. A must read for anyone who loves history, murder, architecture, mystery and really mayhem mixed with desperation.

Report This Jun 15, 2013
  • kowalskim rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very good read. Combines a little tale of terror and heartbreak with interesting Chicago history. Loved it.

Report This Apr 29, 2013
  • sess430 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Although there are two story lines, it's the one about the psychopathic serial killer that I'll most remember. The author jumps around alternating between the stories, which was distracting in a few places. I liked the epilogue at the end, which relates what happened to the main characters after the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 ended.

Report This Apr 09, 2013
  • Susan1883 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Good cross between history and novel - brings the Chicago of the 1890's to life in a compelling way.

loved this book and i recomanded

Report This Feb 28, 2013
  • SpencerSpencer rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Fascinating and spellbinding book that combines elements of true crime, American history, murder mysteries, psychology, popular culture, and urban planning. This book incorporates them all. The American and human spirit at their highest and lowest are thoroughly analyzed. Interesting story about American culture and urban growth.

Report This Jan 20, 2013
  • sdsmith12 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Erik Larson did an excellent job writing this book. It is a great story and was very well written. I found that some of the chapters about the construction of the fair were slow at points, but overall Devil in the White City is an amazing story and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Report This Dec 04, 2012
  • hmcgivney rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The book is the intertwining of two stories (the model Larson seems to prefer) and my favorite story was that of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition. How I wish that I could have seen it. Larson states that many people left feeling that attending the fair and seeing the sights and exhibits was the highlight of their life. And the insight into landscape architecture and Frederick Law Olmstead was great. Some photos of the fair are here. Incredible! http://www.flickr.com/photos/winterthur_library/with/4926758571/

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In The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson takes readers into a richly complex moment in American history, a moment that would draw together the best and worst of the Gilded Age, the grandeur and triumph of the human imagination, and the poverty, violence, and depravity that surrounded it. 464p.

Report This Dec 16, 2010
  • notTom rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Between majestic architecture and cold-blooded murder, the early 1890's were a defining period for the city of Chicago. The Colombian Exposition of 1893 (the World's Fair of 1893, so named to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in America) proved that Chicago could put its elbows on the table of the world's greatest cities. It hugely impacted the course of American history through its influence on technology, architecture, and the popular conscience. This book weaves together the stories of Daniel Burnham, a prominent architect in charge of planning the Exposition, and Herman Webster Mudgett, better known to history as H.H.Holmes, America's first serial killer. Opening a hotel just down the Midway from the fair, Holmes was ensured of a constant flow of trusting young women. What his ill-fated guests did not realize was the presence of air-tight rooms with gas-jets, a greased body chute and the basement containing vats of acid and a crematorium. In the style of Truman Capote, this is a non-fiction novel, a gripping account of deeds of great and evil men alike, made all the more interesting because these events really happened.


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