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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
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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.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2004, c2003
Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed
ISBN: 0375725601
9780375725609
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 L334d 2004
Characteristics: xi, 447 p. :,ill., maps ;,21 cm

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Erik Larson unspools the story of a serial killer who used the 1893 World's Fair as a hunting ground for victims and the frenetic activity as a cover. Also available in audio.

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 wit... Read More »

Astonishing story of the glorious Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and the narcissistic serial killer who preyed on young women while he hid in plain sight.

Erik Larson 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, he has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrill... Read More »

Erik Larson 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,


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Nov 17, 2014
  • mayfairlady rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Whether you are visiting Chicago or not this is a great look at the events surrounding the Chicago World's Fair. Excellent read.

Sep 07, 2014
  • specialk45 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

In my opinion this was very little writing about "crime" and mostly contained historical information about the World's Fair. Slightly interesting, though for me when reading about crime, I like it to be more focused on the crime end-of-things. I was disappointed by this book because it had good reviews.

A well researched and entertaining, true account of the 1893 Chicago Wolrds Fair wrapped around a murder manhunt.

Jun 28, 2014
  • ShirleyRDavis rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Enlightening docu-thriller about the building of the White City (1893--Columbian Exhibition) in Chicago. The book relates the architects, and their triumphs/tribulations meticulously throughout their journey of planning, building and executing the Columbian Exhibition. Edge-of-the seat details of the actions of a true serial killer hidden by the bustle, crime and growth of Chicago are entertwined. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book for the knowledge it revealed about the only city I have ever lived in, and the skill of the writer to tell a suspenseful, thriller-shocker with accuracy to boot!

Apr 17, 2014
  • KCLSLibsRecommend rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A true ‘thriller’ in every sense of the word! Local writer Erik Larson’s research illuminates the genius behind the innovative 1893 Chicago ‘World Columbian Exposition’. Daniel H. Burnham, architect of the fair, was responsible for the construction of the famous ‘White City’ around which the fair was built. At the time the Exposition was going on another sort of genius was busy in Chicago as well. Serial murderer, H.H. Holmes, was entrapping young women in his home and executing them in a sealed room while he watched them die. Larson weaves these two stories together as skillfully as any novelist, but the difference here is that these two stories really happened. Absolutely gripping!

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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Nov 12, 2012
  • Brenda74 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Brenda74 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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