book review

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

by Erik Larson

Length: 447 pages

Published: February 11th 2003 by Random House Audio Publishing Group
Medium of Consumption: eBook and audiobook

The Rundown:

H.H. Holmes is one of the most infamous people in U.S. history.  The first known serial killer on American soil, he committed insurance fraud and heinous acts of murder.  Pretending to be a kind spirited doctor and pharmacist, his charms lured his victims into their often gruesome deaths.  Holmes’ macabre acts were done in a hotel he owned near the soon to open Chicago World’s Fair ground, easily taking the lives of fair goers without a trace.   

Daniel H. Burnham was the architect leading the construction of the fair.  Undertaking a project of grand scale, he faced many obstacles.  The death of his partner, architectural failures, and a scramble to finish building before the fair’s scheduled opening.  

The fair’s overwhelming success made Chicago, the White City, a prosperous, elegant hub that attracted people from the far reaches of the world.  But unbeknownst to them there was danger masquerading as a friend.  

What I Thought:

Phew, it took me far too long to get through this book.  I picked it up because I had many friends that read it and gave sterling 5 star reviews.  And I love me some true crime, so book about H.H. Holmes?  Sign me up!  

Reading it I found that this was 80% about the building of the world’s fair.  Which is really cool and all but it just wasn’t the book I expected.  It was well written, although I found it dry at some points due to lack of Holmes’ chapters.  

giphy (20)

3.5/5 Stars

Recommended To:

  • If you want to know about the Chicago World’s Fair
  • Chicago World’s Fair enthusiasts
  • Chicago
  • Fair
  • If you want to know 10 facts about H.H. Holmes
  • If you like fairs
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