The Devil in the White City
Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed AmericaBook - 2013
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. 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.
To find out more about this book, go to http://www.DevilInTheWhiteCity.com.
From Library Staff
JCLMelodyMK Jul 11, 2018
Title to be discussed on October 13th, 2018
Lorie - Well researched historical true crime.
This a spell-binding story about -intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair, an famous architect and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Recommended for seniors and book clubs.
JCLGreggW Jul 15, 2013
A true account that reads like a historical mystery, Erik Larson's masterwork deserves to be ready by everyone. At the same time dozens of America's premiere architects are creating the 1983 Chicago World's Fair, across town a brooding killer plans to use the fair to capture his victims. Chilling... Read More »
Erik Larson tells a spellbinding non-fiction narrative of two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his work, that embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the forces of good and evil.
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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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