The Devil in the White City

Erik Larson [1 decade ago]

The Devil in the White City Book CoverDownload or Read Online The Devil in the White City Free eBook PDF/ePub Erik Larson , #1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Splendid and the Vile comes the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and the cunning serial killer who used the magic and majesty of the fair to lure his victims to their death. 

“As absorbing a piece of popular history as one will ever hope to find.” —San Francisco Chronicle

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.

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 the enchantment of the Guilded Age, 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. 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.

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The Devil in the White City Book Reviews

The book is two stories, told in mostly alternating chapters. It is well researched and grippingly told. I had little knowledge of the Chicago Columbian Exposition. I was amazed at the great feat of its creation as well as the tremendous influence it had on everything from snack food to theme parks to architecture in the century to follow. Of course the real life murder story adds an additional dimension that will keep you glued to the pages.

Even If It Were Fiction It’d Be Good
I’ve never read a book that threads history together in a way that feels like a fictional thriller quite like this. This feels like a whole new genre. Couldn’t put it down.

Very mediocre
This book had lots of good press, but is a very lame book.

Never thought a worlds fair would keep me up at nite reading!!!
Fantastic dramatic historical book! Story lines are parallel but not dependent on each other! Fascinating to think that the events are researched and true! You won’t be disappointed I promise!

Read this, if only to gain a strong sense of the background of American architectural influences, some which are present today. Oh- and there is a serial killer in this story. Endlessly fascinating!


4.5/5 by 2433 users