The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City
Posted by Jenny Arch on Fri, 12/02/2011 - 10:23am

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This book is really two stories in one, both set around the time of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair: the narration alternates between the story of the architects who built the fair – especially Daniel H. Burnham – and that of serial killer H.H. Holmes. While Burnham and his fellow architects build the “White City” (so called because all of the buildings were painted white), Holmes operates in the “Black City” – the underside of Chicago in the 1890s. This book is superbly well-researched and filled with interesting tidbits (the Ferris Wheel was conceived and first build for the Chicago World’s Fair), but facts are only part of what makes Devil in the White City such a gripping and fascinating read; Erik Larson’s writing brings both stories to life in a way that is vividly real.