Thursday, January 21, 2016

Historical Nonfiction Review - The Devil in the White City

Hey y'all, 

Today I'm reviewing The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. 

Summary from GoodReads: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. 

Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. 

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

Review after the jump! 

Review: Spoiler alert, I read this book more for the parts on H.H. Holmes than the parts about the World’s Fair. However, Larson manages to weave the two together into a very intriguing narrative about 1890s Chicago. Everyone has been after me to read this book since it came out, but it was so popular I just now got around to reading it and now I know why it was so popular! Verdict: Perfect for fans of history and true crime alike. 

Stars: 4/5 

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