The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik LarsonErik Larsons 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.
Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized Americas rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fairs brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the countrys 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 Worlds 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. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.
Everything You Need To Know About THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY
That sounds like a fun and lighthearted read! Meet H. He's handsome. He's suave. He's got a big house in Chicago.
As part of his research for ''The Devil in the White City'' Erik Larson visited the part of Graceland cemetery where members of Chicago's turn-of-the-century elite are enshrined. As he puts it, ''On a crystalline fall day you can almost hear the tinkle of fine crystal, the rustle of silk and wool, almost smell the expensive cigars. Larson likes to embroider the past that way. So he relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramatic effect of a novel, complete with abundant cross-cutting and foreshadowing. Ordinarily these might be alarming tactics, but in the case of this material they do the trick.
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America's First Serial Killer - The Worlds Fair Murder Castle
Reading about B. Burnham's construction of the fair during a time of deadly diseases, grotesque environmental conditions and bank failures was certainly enlightening, but most intriguing for me was erection of the monstrous "Ferris" Wheel with enclosed glassed-in seats. And this dude Dr. Picture a young, handsome prosperous man with mesmerizing big blue eyes who is in fact an evil psychopath, sniveling cheat and conniving polygamist. This devil incarnate killed on a whim and caused turmoil in so many families with his slithering knack of preying on the weak and vulnerable; and while I wasn't too surprised at the naivety of the young women, the men falling for his sleazy schemes really shocked me.