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

Larson, Eric
Vintage 2003
ISBN 0-375-72560-1
Date finished: 2007-08-05

A lively portrait of Chicago in the early 1890s, following two very different threads of events: architect Daniel Burnham's struggle to design and construct the 1893 World's Fair, and serial killer H.H. Holmes's murders and intricate con games. The two stories aren't directly connected -- Burnham and Holmes never met -- but the ambitious plans for the fair were driven by the bustling Chicago economy, and Holmes was also drawn by the numbers of transients attracted by the plentiful jobs, selecting young women who might not be missed as his victims. Despite the odd pairing, though, the book works; both stories are compelling, Larson uses his research well in depicting Chicago, and the fair's construction involves all sorts of interesting side stories, like the construction of the first Ferris wheel and the mayor's assassination.

Tagged: architecture, true crime


%T The Devil in the White City
%A Larson, Eric
%@ 2007-08-05
%S Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
%G ISBN 0-375-72560-1
%D 2003
%K true crime, architecture
%I Vintage
%C New York
%P 432pp

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